Folk Fest: Great eats on the Island. But you might miss out.
Oh my God. Yum.
Calgary is a city full of charitable souls and varied volunteer opportunities. In university, you’ve likely been told how good volunteering will look on your resume and maybe you’ve tracked down something that is meaningful to you to give it a shot. I even had an assignment on altruism in one class where we had to do some volunteering then write an essay about it (turns out that it doesn’t feel too altruistic if you’re doing it for marks; I got an A).
The thing is, a lot of these volunteer organizations are strapped for cash, or at the very least they have a strict budget that doesn’t allow for too much decadence when it comes to feeding the volunteers.
Sadly, that occasionally leads to sad boxes of flavourless Pizza 73, hastily reheated frozen appetizers and coffee with whitener.
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for your gastronomic world to be rocked.
There is a large, non-descript, white tent at Prince’s Island for four days out of the year and it is filled with food that is not only decadent food, but healthy food.
Dinner tonight is sponsored by the Ship and Anchor: Lemongrass chicken or tofu. Tomorrow, Slow Food Calgary is bringing curried beef stew and its vegetarian counterpart. Saturday’s meals include Spolumbo’s (and veggie) sausages, then steak and grilled portabella mushrooms. Winter’s Turkeys brings marinated turkey legs and falafel sandwiches and Sunday afternoon before Slow Food Calgary feeds folks a choice between meat and veggie lasagnas.
Through all those meals there’s a gourmet vegan salad bar with at least three options. Between meals there’s a snack shack with Larabars, corn chips and salsa, fruit, nuts and cheese.
And, dear readers, that’s all free for the 1300 people (comprised of volunteers and festival artists) who stand in a winding line for each meal.
The Calgary Folk Music Festival volunteer handbook notes that last year $50,000 was spent on food and kitchen equipment for the festival — and that doesn’t include the sponsored meals.
It’s things like this gorgeous spread (not to mention free access to the park) that makes volunteering for Folk Festival seem more like a gift to yourself than an act of altruism. But hey, that shouldn’t stop you! If you want to be a part of the festival next year, apply early to volunteer because the best jobs go fast — though even washing dishes in the sunshine while the music washes over you sounds pretty good.
(I spent two festivals as a volunteer, though am experiencing this one as a member of the media only. Stay tuned for more info on the more widely available food on the Island this weekend!)