WILKES-BARRE — The Fine Arts Fiesta board hosted its annual volunteers dinner Sunday to honor the folks who work so hard to make the event a reality.
“This is our kick-off event. We do it to thank our people, but it’s also sort of a way for us to get the volunteers excited and in the mood for fiesta season,” said Mary Ann Fedrick, president of the executive board of the fiesta.
About 120 volunteers attended the dinner at Rodano’s on Public Square, just across the street from the venue of the fiesta, which showcases the works of area artists and includes live entertainment and a wide selection of vendors. The event is slated for May 18-21.
“We have different tents on the square and we have the volunteers sit at the tables and sell artwork, give people directions, and help the artists at their individual tents in case they need to use the restroom or grab lunch,” said Joel Zitofsky, second vice president of the fiesta board and organizer of the reception.
Sandy Ansell, a fiesta volunteer for six years, spends much of the fiesta at the information booth when she’s not walking through the venue to enjoy the offerings.
“I enjoy it a lot, it’s a lot of fun. I get to see and buy some artwork. There’s one day in particular that special needs children visit the Fiesta and it’s very nice to see them be able to interact with art. There’s a wide variety of people who come, and some even come all four days,” said Ansell.
Volunteer Rose Ann Bauer spends her time keeping an eye on the works of art on display at the fiesta and assisting patrons who would like to purchase it.
“They have all the judged art hanging in the tent and if people come to buy it, we take care of them, do the paperwork, and handle the pieces. Last year, we had a stoneware piece break, so we also watch to make sure the art is safe,” said Bauer. “I love it, everyone is very nice. It’s very interesting, you meet a lot of interesting people. I think it is a wonderful thing to do for the city. It gets the people out at a nice four-day event.”
Bauer’s husband, Jack, also helps out at the fiesta. The couple spend time volunteering at events across the Wyoming Valley now that they are retired.
“You make new friends volunteering at the fiesta,” Jack Bauer said. “Plus, you can see some very interesting pieces of work. And it’s not only the artwork, it’s the people who come that make it special. It’s the sculpture work, the jewelry, and the talent that is shown off at the fiesta.”
Fedrick noted during the dinner that this year’s official Fine Arts Fiesta T-shirt has the same design as the winning poster in the fiesta’s annual poster competition. This year’s contest winner was Alyson Muse, of Crestwood High School.
“We had about 150 entries and the winner received some money and a poster framed by Kenny Marquee from Marquee Art and Frame,” Fedrick said.
“The theme this year is ‘Smile! It’s Fiesta’ and we really want people to take note of that,” Fedrick continued. “Part of it is that it’s the spring, you’re outside, you can feel good and see your friends at the Fiesta after the long winter, and most importantly, smile and have a good time.”