Valuing Art & Wine Faire volunteers

 

Editor:
Last weekend I helped out at Park Street Plaza, the headquarters for the Art & Wine Faire. I was able to witness a different perspective than most people about the scope of what is done at the street fair and would like to tell the community what I witnessed.

The annual Park Street Art & Wine Faire completed its 33rd year in the Downtown Alameda Businesst District last weekend. As a business owner who has been operating on Park Street since before the first Art & Wine Faire even started, I have been able to see this event grow and change. It has been voted “The Best Event in Alameda” by the community time and time again. 

The event attendees not only live or work in Alameda but traveled to downtown just for this street faire as they have many times in the past. I heard comments on the street and in social media about the change in layout that critiqued the faire in a negative way. Too many people, booths changed direction, no parking, etc. 

Many don’t understand that change happens for a reason and safety is always a front runner when you get more than 60,000 people visiting the fair. By authority of the fire marshal, there needed to be a safe way to have emergency vehicles manuever through the fair. After meeings with fire, police, event staff and Park Street merchants, it was determined the only way to continue having this event and satisfy all parties involved was to provide safety for everyone. Without this change, there could be no fair.

Some people, I am sure, were just fine with this change. But what I heard all weekend at the fair’s headquarters, was recognition for the true dedication and proficiency of the staff and the amount of volunteers involved. 

Downtown Alameda receives and organizes volunteer help from service organizations, associations, businesses, clubs and community members looking to get involved. I heard more than 220 truly happy volunteers helped out. Every two hours a new shift of volunteers arrived to run the beverage booths and ticket sales. 

I heard plenty of comments about what a good time they had how they were already looking forward to helping at the fair again next year. Not only were they providing the necessary help but were able to get some exposure for their organizations or businesses and the satisfaction of participating in a community event. 

They also enjoyed the added knowledge that their efforts will help the district stay “Clean, Green and Safe.” The Downtown is yours and ours. Let’s continue to improve on what we have created that has done so much for our beloved Alameda!

 

Debbie George Bonne Vie, Park Street Plaza

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