Volunteering at Riverfest is a family tradition for many, with parents, siblings, spouses and other relatives volunteering together at the festival. However Joyce Dixson, Jackie Baker and Traci Baker are an exceptional example of this tradition of family volunteers.
Joyce, who co-chairs the Riverfest Volunteer Committee, has volunteered for Wichita Festivals for more than 25 years. This year, Joyce not only took off nine vacation days from her full-time job at Intrust Bank to volunteer at Riverfest, but she came into the WFI office every day from February to June to assist staff with every imaginable project. Joyce made phone calls, sent emails, scheduled speaking engagements, laminated passes, stuffed envelopes and cut, folded and paper-punched her heart out.
Joyce brought along her sister, Jackie, who also helped out in the office in the months leading up to the festival as well as pricing merchandise tent before Riverfest began. Again this year, Jackie manned the main Riverfest merchandise tent from 11 a.m to 11 p.m all nine days of the festival, as she has for many years.
Traci Baker has been following in her mother Jackie’s and Aunt Joyce’s footsteps for years. First just tagging along as a little girl, now as a volunteer. Traci serves on the volunteer committee and six years ago took on the important role of Prairie Schooner Mate Mom. Wrangling 22 high school students is a huge job, but Traci goes the extra mile to make it work. Literally! Traci flies 775 to Wichita from Atlanta every year for Riverfest. Traci has passed on the family tradition of Riverfest volunteering on her own children, daughter DaMarshae, who works in the ticket booths and son DeLawrence, who helps in any way he can.
This dedicated family also brings their aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces to help package buttons and fold t-shirts.
“Their passion for Riverfest amazes and moves me,” wrote Teri Mott, Riverfest director of marketing and communications. “I am fortunate to work not only with these three ladies and their relatives, but with all of our thousands of volunteers. Thank you to Joyce, Jackie, and Traci for setting a high standard for our Riverfest volunteers.”
This year more than 7,000 volunteers working 35,000 volunteer hours! Every year this number increase, along with the duties it takes to put on this community event.