Just weeks away, CumberlandFest needs volunteers

Just weeks away, CumberlandFest needs volunteers

CUMBERLAND – CumberlandFest is coming fast, say organizers of the 30th celebration planned for Aug. 6-8, and their “biggest challenge” in pulling it off is to attract volunteers.

“It’s crunch time as the CumberlandFest Steering Committee finalizes plans for the big event,” says Steering Committee Executive Director Jerry Schimmel. “We have been working hard for weeks to ensure that this year’s celebration lives up to the expectation of the 14,000 visitors who are expected to attend our 30th-year celebration.”

Particularly in a year when the weekend event is going to a free admission model, volunteers are even more important to its success, says Board Chairman Alan Neville, who said the lateness of planning the event due to the unpredictability of pandemic rules really left them scrambling.

“The biggest challenge we have is we got started late not knowing what was going to happen,” he said. “Maybe we’re experiencing some pandemic drag where people are reluctant still. That seems to be the case even though people are out and about.”

The need for adult volunteers is especially great, he said, including for cash counting/event accounting. Changed procedures this year will have the festival itself responsible for soft drink sales rather than food truck operators, so that too will require help.

CumberlandFest will have the usual crowd pleasers, including the carnival midway of rides provided by Rockwell Amusements, a food court, a beer and wine garden with top local musical talent performing, an expansive arts and crafts village, special events and attractions for children, and two wrestling shows on Sunday afternoon. Not to be missed, say organizers, is the huge fireworks display on Saturday night, the region’s largest of the summer, the costs of which the town is taking over for this anniversary year.

The successful planning and running of CumberlandFest depends on “the commitment and engagement of a critical group of core volunteers and a larger cadre of helpers who do everything from overseeing the front gate, to handling event accounting, to arranging for event infrastructure support, to guiding visitors to event attractions and services,” say those who run it.

“It’s hard to believe that CumberlandFest has been a completely volunteer-run operation since its inception in 1991,” said Schimmel. “And those who have given of their time, energy and talents are to be lauded for their dedication.”

CumberlandFest has contributed more than $1 million to youth activities in Cumberland over its 30-year history.

As recently as late May, it was uncertain as to whether pandemic related restrictions would prevent the event from happening, and that uncertainty delayed and truncated event planning including the important task of volunteer recruitment. It will likely take nearly 1,000 hours of volunteer effort to ensure a successful event, said Schimmel. The goal is to recruit enough help so no single volunteer needs to commit to covering more than one shift of four or six hours during the three-day weekend.

CumberlandFest draws volunteers from the youth organizations that benefit from the financial proceeds of the event and from the community at large. Youth organizations interested in volunteering, or individuals willing to give a few hours of their time to help with event tasks such as set-up, event logistics and take-down may sign up at www.cumberlandfest.org or by calling Community Committee Chairman Mike Crawley at 401-651-4404. Youth organizations will earn $10 in contributions for every volunteer hour expended and may also receive a bonus payment based on event proceeds.

“This year, more than ever, we need a reason to have fun,” said Schimmel. “CumberlandFest is truly our hometown’s summer celebration. It’s time to come together to celebrate our town and each other. There’s no better place to do that than CumberlandFest.”