23 Aug 2014
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Volunteers Make Buffalo Grove Days Possible

It takes a team of dedicated volunteers to pull off a five-day festival. Here's a look at the work done by the Buffalo Grove Days committee members.

Volunteers Make Buffalo Grove Days Possible Volunteers Make Buffalo Grove Days Possible Volunteers Make Buffalo Grove Days Possible Volunteers Make Buffalo Grove Days Possible Volunteers Make Buffalo Grove Days Possible

A team of Buffalo Grove volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to pull off the village’s annual Buffalo Grove Days festival, which runs this year from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3.

Dozens of committee members gathered Tuesday for their second-to-last meeting, where they delivered updates, solicited feedback and requested help with last-minute tasks.

Planning began six months ago by more than 60 volunteers who are led by event co-chairs J.V. Springman and Paulette Greenberg.

This is Springman’s 10th year as co-chair, but he began volunteering on the committee several years earlier. “Sixteen or 17?” he said, trying to recall how many years he’s dedicated to Buffalo Grove Days. “They start to run together.”

While a few new members joined the committee this year, Springman said the majority of them are longtime volunteers.

“It’s like a big family. Most of these people here have been here as long as I’ve been here,” he said.

Committee members handle such details as stage lights and sound, rides and games, entertainment, and event publicity. “Probably 30 (volunteers) are your hardcore people who are here all five days,” said Greenberg, a co-chair for the past seven years.

Volunteer roles

Among them are mother-daughter team Debra Jess and Penni Raphaelson, who have led the carnival committee together for the past decade.

They are the liaisons to the carnival company, which this year will provide 17 rides, ranging from kiddie cars to the Wacky Mouse, a two-story rollercoaster. A Ferris wheel, Tilt-a-Whirl, Gravitron, Fun Slide and Ring of Fire will also join the mix, along with a selection of carnival games.

The two will be found on the carnival grounds from open to close each day, with ticket sales their primary focus. They estimated that they put in an additional 10 hours of labor before and after fest hours each year. 

Both of their faces lit up when they talked about past years at Buffalo Grove Days, which have included a couple visiting the festival on their wedding day and elderly couples enjoying rides on the Ferris wheel.

It’s moments like those, as well as the fun of seeing general excitement over the fest, that keep this team coming back each year.

“It’s those little moments, when you give the kids their (unlimited ride) wristband and they go, “I can go on all these rides?!” Raphaelson said.

While Raphaelson and Jess have fairly visible roles at the fest, other volunteers’ efforts are more behind the scenes. Tuesday night’s updates included reports from Alan Danenberg, who handles marketing (festival brochures will be mailed with the village’s newsletter this week); Chuck Posniak, who has 32 judges lined up for the BBQ Challenge (competitors’ applications are due Aug. 27); Jim Pawlak, who has 47 crafters registered for the arts and crafts fair; Marty Sussman, who ensured accommodations were in place for disabled fest-goers; and Adam Moodhe, who discussed transportation and hotel accommodations for the headlining bands.

This year’s festival will include performances by Little River Band, as well as by Casey Abrams, who was , and , a Vernon Hills native who competed on Season 2 of The Voice

“The 2012 Buffalo Grove Days will swing Hollywood style,” noted committee volunteer , which she uses to provide regular festival updates to Patch readers.

Despite a number of committee reports and a handful of last-minute discussions about such details as where to purchase bags of ice, where and when risers will be needed, and which business might sponsor the parade ($500 gets its name on a banner), the meeting wrapped up in under an hour and the committee members headed off to wrap up the loose ends. 

“We put a lot of trust in them,” Springman said. “They know what their job is, and they do it.”

One week to go

The festival will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29 with a charity softball game at ’s north field. Buffalo Grove Days opens the evening of Aug. 30 with the carnival, Bingo, bags tournament, and food and beer tents and runs through Labor Day.

Other events will include a disc golf tournament, arts and crafts fair, business expo, dog show, BBQ challenge, the Buffalo Grove Stampede 5K/10K race, the Buffalo Grove Rotary Club’s pancake breakfast, fireworks and a special event for people with disabilities.

The Buffalo Grove Days parade steps off at 1 p.m. Sept. 2, led by grand marshal Rick Kahen, a longtime volunteer on the village’s Commission for Residents with Disabilities. The parade, composed of more than 100 entries, is , and will be announced by retired village manager Bill Brimm and Chuck Johnson, a former village trustee and current Lake County judge.

For more festival coverage: Buffalo Grove Days 2012

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