For a string of consecutive years we volunteered to help out a a cultural pavilion operated by our neighbours for the local, annual heritage festival.
Each year, a hundred-ish groups set up tents in a big park and sell food that is reflective of their ancestral culture. Our neighbours, having immigrated from Paris a dozen years ago, joined that group and immersed themselves in assisting with the event. We tagged along and became volunteers, cooking and helping with a dozen other set up and tear down tasks.
The pandemic ravaged the festival. And a string of other circumstances meant that the last time the group sold their wares on an August long weekend was in 2019. As a result, nearly everything about the location and operation of the food pavilion has changed for 2023, and we’re joining them (probably for the last time in this transitionary year) to help set up and cook.
I spent two evenings doing kitchen assembly this past week, and later this morning we’re going to venture over to the festival grounds to kick things off with some hands-on work.
On my Giant List of Sabbatical Goals, volunteering was itemized as something I wanted to do while off from working. I could write something about how it never hurts to be out there doing community work and how every hour worked volunteering is a networking opportunity or building skills. But I could also write that standing in a tent in a field for a few hours cooking sweet foods and watching people is mostly just a fun way to spend a day or two out of the house.
Either way, I’m going to be cooked myself by the end of this long weekend.