Festival on-the-Green nearly ready for this year’s entertainment

MIDDLEBURY — For over three decades, the Festival on-the-Green has provided a week’s worth of free family-friendly entertainment for Addison County residents.
The community event, which will hold its 34th annual run of three shows a day on the Middlebury green from July 8-14, does not have an admissions fee, but it does carry high costs.
Walter Deverell, first year treasurer of the Festival on-the-Green, spotted this year’s budget at $38,422. The committee of volunteers that stage the shows hopes to bring in about $25,000 in donations before the event, but has currently received only $21,500. Nevertheless, Deverell remains confident they will receive more donations before July 8.
“I am hopeful that we will receive a few more donations in the last few weeks that could help us reach our goal,” he said.
The majority of the festival costs go toward fees of the 17 performing artists. Other big costs include insurance, tents, sound equipment and festival programs.
Deverell explained performances are not at risk of being cut from the lineup. If the committee does not receive enough donations to fund costs, they can still pull money left over from last year’s event.
Despite the donations shortage, Deverell says the planning process is “right on target.” The lineup for the event is set and the committee is currently in the process of filling volunteer slots.
Secretary Pat Boera said she is looking forward to the program this year, which she said features a “fabulous lineup.” The caliber of artists the program committee books for the festival constantly impresses her. Performers this year include Rumbafrica, Sprag Session and the Vermont Jazz Ensemble.
“The program committee does a great job of finding a mix of performers, ranging from up and coming to seasoned to local and traveling artists,” Boera said.
Although this year’s performance schedule is set, the committee faces another hurdle in recruiting enough volunteers. In years past, the committee has found enough help, but this year’s volunteer participation is on the decline.
Boera said volunteers are an essential part to smooth running of the festival. Around 12-15 volunteers are needed each afternoon and 20-30 for evening performances. These volunteers staff the donation buckets, provide food for the performers, sell t-shirts and run hospitality.
Boera attributes the decrease in volunteers to conflicting personal schedules, but called it a “natural matriculation.” She explained that the event requires more help than many would expect.
“So much more effort goes on behind the scenes that people don’t know about,” said Boera. “I call this the heavy-lifting.”
Regardless of the obstacles, the festival is set to have the same format as in prior years. With the exception of Sunday and Saturday, the festival features three daily performances. Daytime “brown bag specials” are geared toward children, while two shows each evening are for the whole family. A highlight includes the Saturday evening block party, when Main Street is blocked off and festivalgoers can dance in the street.
Boera said the committee keeps a “pretty simple recipe for the event” to ensure safety. The main focus is on the stage and refreshments.
One new addition to the festival this year is the possibility of using the gazebo space. Planners are discussing the possibility of placing an art group there. This addition would supplement the festival’s partnership with the Middlebury Arts Walk that is taking place from 5-7 p.m. that Friday.
Final preparations for the event are under way. The committee will be meeting again July 2 to discuss event details.
“The festival is always in need for more volunteers,” Boera said.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Festival on-the-Green is asked to call the festival phone number at (802) 462-3555.For more details visit festivalonthegr

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