One of my favorite weekends of the year is our neighborhood’s annual beer festival. Craft brewers flock from all over the country to the park right by our house to serve their beers to thousands of thirsty patrons from around the city. The beer is ridiculously tasty and the event is definitely a lightning rod for a good time. But it costs $40 to attend and I am a pretty cheap dude.
So to get around this prohibitive beer-drinking cost my wife and I decided to volunteer to pour beer at the festival with a group of our friends. The festival wouldn’t be possible without free laborers setting up and serving the festival goers this liquid nectar, so we are able to help our community enjoy one of the best events of the year. The perk? FREE BEER!
Volunteering turns this beer fest into an all day event which for us which is actually pretty great. We toss a bunch of delicious victuals on the grill and fashion our homemade pretzel necklaces (a must have for any beer festival) and then walk up the street to the festival gates. Walking is the recommended mode of transportation for attending a beer festival for obvious reasons. There is an air of excitement as folks see their favorite craft brewers set up at different tents around the park and we set out to see what incredibly interesting brews we can taste. After we’ve had our palates amazed by the brews we’ve tasted we sign in at the volunteer table, get our free t shirt (another perk), and start pouring beers for everyone else.
Basically, volunteering at our local beer festival and all sorts of other great events around our city is delightful. It is a joy to get to know other people in our neighborhood and to get to contribute to something that provides so much joy for others. Hanging out at the pouring table and talking to the other attendees about our favorite craft brews is a blast. And in that spirit, there are also often fantastic perks even beyond the warm fuzzies you get for volunteering. You might get free entrance, a cool t shirt, a free beer or two, or a new friend.
There are tons of volunteer opportunities all around you, and many offer pretty sweet perks. Keep your eyes open and get involved in your community. You might find out that you actually get a pretty great return on the time you give away.