Bev Grazulewicz (center) enjoys a night at the Cabaret, with her daughter and friends, June 2009

By Beverly Grazulewicz, Festival Office Manager

My daughter called me recently from college and told me her professor asked her to start a blog about her experience in graduate school.  She asked me for my advice (not sure why) but I hope I gave her some thoughts on what a blog was intended to do which is basically to share information and start conversations.  Apparently her blog is off and running and hopefully she will enjoy the process. 

Well just imagine my surprise a few days later when my co-worker Karen Hendricks, the most masterful wordsmith I know, asked me if I would write a blog for our Festival website.  My first thought was to call my daughter for advice.  But then I decided I could handle this on my own.  After all, the topic she asked me to write about was one I was very familiar with – Friends!  More specifically, Friends of the Festival.   What a delightful topic. 

Friends of the Festival, Bob and Kim Krummerich, May 2009

Well, here you go.  My thoughts on the Gettysburg Festival and what our “Friends” mean to us. 

I began my career at the Gettysburg Festival quite innocently.  A good friend, Donna Nicholson, knew I was looking for something new to become involved with.  She suggested I come with her to volunteer at the office of the Gettysburg Festival.  While I had heard about the plans for this Festival, I wasn’t quite sure what it was all about but it certainly intrigued me.  What couldn’t be fun about a Festival?  So in I went to volunteer my services a few hours a week.  And what fun it was – crazy fun.  People coming and going in every direction and a schedule of events that I couldn’t believe.  Before I knew it I was “employed” by the Gettysburg Festival and the craziness became a part of my life. 

Soon it was July of 2008 and the inaugural ten-day festival was over.  The small staff was all relieved but this relief was short lived, because we knew that almost immediately we had to start planning for 2009.  One of the big things in the back of our mind was how to sustain a quality festival of this magnitude.  Many of our events are free and we wanted to maintain that.  During one of our brainstorming sessions about this, everyone started to mention that we recognized a lot of people at multiple events, some staying all day at the brass day, others at multiple theater events, many at both a dance event and also a children’s event.  These were obviously people who believed in what we were doing.  From this came the idea that they could become our “Friends” and the first Friend of the Festival campaign was launched in the fall of 2008.

Fun Times with Friends: "An American Culinary Adventure," May 2009

We were pleasantly surprised by the reaction to our first Friends of the Festival Campaign.  The financial support AND the very personal, supportive comments many people sent encouraged us that this Festival was indeed appreciated and wanted in our community. 

The 2009 Festival again surpassed our expectations, with over 100 events and a majority of them free thanks to the support of our generous sponsors and our “Friends.”  We enjoyed meeting many of our “Friends” at a special event held at the beginning of our Festival just for them and then seeing them throughout the Festival.  Each time we see them, we enjoy hearing what they like (and even what they don’t like) about the Festival.  After all, without these loyal attendees there would be no Festival. 

So now we are planning the 2010 Festival and again we are seeking the support of  Friends,” both new and “old.”  As a Friend of the Festival you are not only letting us know you enjoy the arts, you are also letting the community know you are aware of the benefits the arts play in our community’s economic structure.  I encourage you to take a look at the names on our 2009 Friends List (on our website).  You are sure to recognize many of them.  As we are now seeking our Friends for the 2010 Festival, we’d love to count you among our “Friends.”

Click on the “Support” page of the Festival website to become a Friend of the Festival today!