Volunteer Now for Summerfest 2017!

By John Becker

In 1983, MASH ended an 11-year, 251-episode TV run, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American crowned Miss America and McDonald’s introduced the Chicken McNugget.

Did you know ‘83 was also the year a group of Virginia-Highland merchants – led by late Atkins Park owner Warren Bruno – got together and threw a block party that would eventually become Summerfest?

Yes, it’s really been 34 years since the first Summerfest, and organizers are hard at work planning this year’s festival set for the weekend of June 3. Featuring a 5K Road Race and Tot Trot, one of the largest juried artist markets in the South and a variety of local, regional and national acts performing on the music Summerfest stage, our festival has become one of Atlanta’s most eagerly anticipated seasonal events.

Aside from simply attending the event, how can you get the most out of your Summerfest experience? Why, volunteering, of course! Summerfest volunteer shifts are generally 2-3 hours long and you can choose to help with:

Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones, and also help ensure the success of VHCA’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Volunteering can be a great way for high school or middle school students to get service hours. You can even sign up for multiple shifts if you like (and many do). Encourage your friends and neighbors to volunteer. Come join in the fun and go home with the coveted volunteer t-shirt!

We’re using SignUp.Com (formerly VolunteerSpot) again this year for volunteer registration and management. The tool is great at helping us organize our various tasks and shifts and is very easy to use. (Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone.)

Here’s how it works in three easy steps:

  1. Click here to access the Summerfest area on VolunteerSpot.
  2. Review the different tasks and shifts listed and identify the tasks/shifts that work for you.
  3. Sign up – it’s easy and you won’t have to register or leave a password on SignUp.com.

Have questions or need more information? Contact volunteer coordinator John Becker at jnbecker@me.com. Please don’t delay – volunteer today! We look forward to seeing you in June!

John Becker is a past VHCA board member and serves as Summerfest volunteer coordinator.

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One Man Involved with Summerfest 5K From the Start

by Kay Stephenson

This race has been run in Virginia-Highland for at least 30 years – we are a little fuzzy on the date, but it was sometime between 1985 and 1987. Ed Williams, who has managed our race for many years, started the Virginia-Highland Track Club in 1984. That group organized a few St. Patrick’s Day races, and used their equipment to help with the early Summerfest races.

Neighborhood Races

Back then there were only a few neighborhood races. Buckhead had a few, and Olympian Jeff Galloway directed a couple near Colony Square. Ed ran in most of those races, but they all faded away many years ago. Unlike those, Virginia-Highland’s Summerfest 5K is still going strong and growing.

A Laid-Back Crowd

Ed tells us he loves this race because it is a pleasant mix of runners from the neighborhood, around the Atlanta area, and out of state. There are a small percentage of competitive runners mixed with casual runners and walkers. “It’s not a big-time competitive race where runners get mad if we start two minutes late – a nice, laid-back crowd”.

Benefiting the Neighborhood

Sometimes it seems like there is a race in the neighborhood every week-end. Unlike many that benefit a variety or regional and national causes, all proceeds of the Summerfest 5K benefit the Virginia-Highland community. Another unique twist – after the 5K we have a very special race for youngsters called the Tot Trot.  In addition, runners love the opportunity to get an early look at our juried artist market.

Sign Up Early

The race, a USA Track & Field certified Peachtree Road Race qualifier, happens Saturday June 3rd at 8:00 a.m. and you can find all the details on the Summerfest page at RunGeorgia.com. Registration closes at 1600 participants or May 19th, whichever comes first. This race often sells out, and there is no race day registration, so sign up early on Active.com.

Plan a Porch Party

Is this the 30th anniversary of the race? If you have proof positive, let us know. Not a runner? Plan a breakfast porch party along the race route to cheer on your neighbors. Ham biscuits and a Bloody Mary, anyone?

Photos by Kay Stephenson

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