Since the beginning of the year, I have been working with the Petaluma Visitors Program and because that program is under the umbrella of the Petaluma Downtown Association, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the events produced by the PDA. 

Working behind the scenes at the Butter & Egg Days parade, Sunday’s Art & Garden Festival, and the rather spur-of-the-moment Royal Tea at the Museum has give me a huge appreciation for the volunteers who show up year-after-year, ready to do whatever is asked, and work tirelessly to make an event a success.

Of course, there’s a tremendous amount of planning and organization by the paid staff for months before an event. But to borrow a phrase from the labor movement, a great event is carried (often literally given the amount of schlepping that is done) on the backs of the volunteers.

And some of the volunteers who are the most amazing are seniors and retired folks who show up at the crack of dawn and stay until the last chair is folded and loaded onto the truck. These are men and women well into their 70s who thrive on hard work and a “let’s get it done” kind of attitude. They are a great role model for me.

There is also the group of volunteers who don’t have a day to commit to an event but they show up at their scheduled time, jump into the task at hand and give it their all. Thank goodness for them too.

So the next time you go to a fair, festival, or parade and you see someone unloading ice, selling tickets, directing traffic, or pouring beer, take a moment and thank them for their hard work. They make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy a day of fun and distraction from work.