Every year, I am lucky enough to be invited to a variety of parties, socials, events, and functions, where I meet a variety of people and have new and unique experiences. This past Friday, the WordFest Volunteer Appreciation Party, or the WVAP as it is known colloquially, was one of those events. Held each year to celebrate the hard work volunteers put in to make WordFest possible, it’s an event I wouldn’t miss for anything.
This year the event, as Anne mentioned, was held at the swanky Motion Art Gallery, Eau Claire Market, in beautiful downtown Calgary. The venue offered a dynamic space for volunteers and staff to get together and trade stories, share their experiences from WordFest 2012, and have an all around good time.
When I arrived at the Gallery I surveyed the room, trying to pick where to set up shop for the evening. One table in particular caught my eye, where Michelle (the Artist’s Lounge host during WordFest) was sitting. It’s always wise to have the volunteer in charge of food and booze for authors all week, at your table. The fact it was situated next to the food didn’t hurt either.
Contrary to what Anne may think however, I was not focused on the chicken tray, as there were so many other things to grab my attention this wonderful evening. First off there was also a Signature Focaccia Sandwich Tray, featuring turkey, roast beef, cheese and vegetable, and Italian classics, all on delicious focaccia bread. There was also the “All Rolled Up” or “Lavosh” tray; a selection of mixed wraps including roast beef, turkey, ham, cream cheese, and tuna salad.
For those not interested in sandwiches, (yes, those crazies do exist), there was also the aforementioned chicken tray, a fruit tray, a vegetable tray, a sushi tray and a spinach dip spread with sourdough bread. Basically, there was something to tempt even the most discriminating tastes. And let’s not forget the desserts, where an array of brownies and assorted squares helped silence everybody’s sweet tooth.
This night was so much more than just food however, and I don’t want to devote too much time to that topic. There was also an open bar, offering a selection of beer and wine. From my experience, beer and wine go quite well with a selection of appetizers and sandwiches. The only problem we faced, as far as food and drink were concerned, was that there was too much. Even with my robust appetite in attendance, left-overs were inevitable.
But besides the food, the evening was an excellent opportunity to share stories from the week that was WordFest 2012. Who could forget one volunteer asking Noah Richler what his father did for a living, and upon finding out he was a writer, asking what his name was? And the setting was definitely I step up from the community halls of years past. Which isn’t anything against community halls, but when I can be enjoying lovely pieces of art, instead of blank walls last painted in 1974, I’ll take the Gallery.
For entertainment, volunteers were treated to music from Ethan Collister and Caleb Roddick, as well as a special performance by a promising new group, the MacIntyre Sisters. We were also afforded the opportunity to play an interesting game (and fitting given this was a WordFest party), where each person was given a sheet to write down a noun. The paper would then be passed to somebody else who would write down a verb, and then to another who would add a complement. People were then asked to share their creations with others. It is amazing how long I would agonize over a verb, in an attempt to be funny. I quickly learned that no verb is really funny on its own; it needs to be combined with a noun.
See, it isn’t funny on its own. But when used in a sentence, can be kind of funny.
“The tray flummoxed Bryan with its vast selection of sandwiches.”
Like all good things, the party eventually came to and end, coincidently at the same time as the bar ran out of booze. WordFest was over for another year, as I put my coat on and prepared for the exit. It was then I became rather emotional, watching the trays of excess food being packaged up, unable to think of a way to get them home, and unable to continue eating.