Thursday, June 24, 2010

Behind the Scenes

When you come to any of the Fun 4th Festival events, we hope that each event appears effortless, almost as though it has happened by magic. That's the way all good parties should seem. If you've ever hosted a big party, though, you know that's all an illusion.

We're hosting four parties that we call the Fun 4th Festival, for a total of about 100,000 of our closest friends. There's nothing we like better than to see all your smiling faces each year, enjoying all that these parties have to offer. And we hope it seems to you like we've thrown it all together with ease and grace.

This is our 36th Fun 4th so we've been doing this for awhile. Throughout the years, a few things have changed about the Festival, but one thing that hasn't is our dependence on volunteers and staff that we never see except at Fun 4th time. Basically, we have a skeleton staff that operates our little non-profit throughout the year, but come Fun 4th time, our small suite of offices fills with scores of people that we generally only see once a year. Fun 4th Fun Factoid: it takes about 1,000 volunteers to put on the Fun 4th each year. Behind the Scenes note: there are hundreds of them I never even see -- crazy, right?

I'm always excited to see our returning volunteers and crew, to find out what has happened in their lives over the past year, to hear about new jobs, marriages, babies -- the joys and sorrows that are natural to share with folks you spend an intense week with each year. Our little staff spends so much insulated time together, focused on the minutiae of the Festival, that we sometimes forget the FUN part of Fun 4th. Every year, with the influx of all these great people, there comes a new energy that buoys us into the home stretch. I can't say that all the last minute frustrations go away or that you won't hear the sounds of rampant aggravation in our office, but I will say, this time of year, you will also hear the hum of catching-up conversation and getting-to-know-you stories of new found friends. And laughter, you can hear lots and lots of laughter. Hey, it is FUN 4th, after all -- right?!

For all of you who like a good spoiler to your story or a behind-the-scenes look, though, this one's for you. I'll be posting some pictures of our offices over the next few days of prep time. It kind of looks like someone has puked red, white and blue chaos all over the place right now, but like all good hosts, we'll be ready for you when you get to the Festival. First up -- we're T minus 2 days to the Freedom Run & Walk so here's a look at what we're up to. Holy Moley -- I'd better get back to work!!

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