Setting Up for Special Events

Although people enjoy special events at National Park sites, they often don’t think about the setting up that has to happen before the special event.  No matter how many people are involved in the event, there are just as many people who worked hard before the event and cleaned up after the event.

Ranger Bob giving instructions

At Fort Frederica National Monument, we are blessed to have a great crew of maintenance guys and volunteers who are willing to do whatever is needed for special events.  This last weekend was a good example.  We had our seventh African American Festival on Saturday and rain was forecast for all day.  In addition to the regular tents, we spent two days setting up extra tents.  I probably shouldn’t say we.  I am usually holding down the Visitors Center while everyone else lends their muscle to setting up.

Linda worked in the VC so I could go outside

On Thursday I got out for a little bit to help with the big tent.  This is the showcase tent and setting up takes 12 people.  Fortunately we had that many with everyone pitching in.  When I went out to help, it was humorous because Tom was the person reading the instructions.  He started out by reading the instructions for the wrong model of tent, which meant that the team had to go back a couple of steps to get the tent set up right.  But, because we had 12 people and everyone worked so well together, we had the tent up in an hour.

Putting up the big tent

Friday the crew finished setting up the little tents and the chairs.  Friday night the rain started and continued through Sunday afternoon.  It wasn’t a hard rain and there wasn’t any lightning.  Attendance was lower at the event, although there were still over 400 visitors who brought their rain gear and umbrellas. It was a good event with speakers throughout the day.  A dozen people worked at booths representing various parks and agencies.  The Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters were the highlight of the day.

A smaller rain fly

Once the event was over, the people who did all the setting up took a break.  After all, if you put away tents when they are wet, they will mold.  Finally, on Monday, the sun came out and dried everything out enough to put away.  The volunteers took care of most of it because all the maintenance staff was off on Monday for Presidents Day.  But we waited to take the big tent down until the maintenance staff was back.

The big tent

Ranger Bob Lumas put together the event and did a great job.  He made sure everyone knew what needed to be done.  The maintenance staff and all the volunteers did their part setting up and tearing down afterward.  Now they get a break before the next big event, Colonial Day, in March.