Volunteering at Artbeat 2019 March 2019

Artbeat Volunteers made the day!

It really was an Artbeat festival full of sound and colour. And how wonderful it was to be part of it all. My special jobs on Saturday, 3 February was to read out loud books to kids of all ages and then to help plan and execute the pirate’s treasure hunt. What could be more exciting?

The Artbeat Festival is an annual event held by Creative Northland in the Cafler Park near the local Whangarei library. The day dawned bright and cheerful and promised to be not too hot and not too cold with no rain forecast at all. And it was all that and more, with tantalising aromas of food to be bought and coffee and teas to be sampled.

And kids, so many of them everywhere enjoying the sounds and sights. So much for them to participate in. Hundreds, literally hundreds of children were getting their faces painted with the the queue nearly circled the block. They could also try their hands at carving stone, making paper, painting on spinning wheels, making the hugest bubbles I had ever seen and of course listening to my “dulcet” tones reading The Cat in the Hat books to any that wanted to listen.

We are not sure, but I had a sneaky feeling that the kids were watching us plan out the treasure hunt because their brilliance at finding the clues was superb. They found all the clues in record time and were soon sharing out the spoils of treasure. Not gold but lollies. A treat for everyone. I even managed to snaffle one or two away for later.

Crafts in one corner set the scene for me being a crochet fanatic. I loved seeing the creativity coming alive. Made me want to get home and get my own crochet out. Paintings, pottery, knitting, eco friendly gear, bags, aprons, tee-shirts, trousers, calendars, pin holders, necklaces and bracelets. The list is endless and such a joy to see so many creative people come to show off their wares.

I didn’t really get to hear many of the sounds and sights of the stage, but by the size of the crowd watching from the grassy incline it seemed to being very well received. I did notice belly dancers, choirs and out back I managed to spy a rapper or two. An MC with boundless energy was keeping the audience up to date with what was going on.

Food in another corner of the park. The smells making my mouth water every time I had to walk past. Rather special were the Waka Burgers I can’t really explain how extra special these burgers are but if you ever get to try one go for it, you won’t be disappointed. There was also a vast variety of foods you could buy: fresh fruit ice blocks, Chinese, Indian you name it and even a man singing his products so we would buy his baklava. Oh, and the doughnuts, bring extra money to next year’s event so you can buy one. Yummo.

It was a long day, from 7am to 4pm. But the work was totally rewarding, and not at all stressful (that was left to the well oiled organising team). They did very very well and need a great big pat on the back. I will definitely be back next year volunteering at ArtBeat. I had as they say; a ball doing my bit.

- Janette Morrison