Monday, 26 June 2017

The Junction Summer Solstice Festival

George and I helped out when Christine was involved in Word on the Street (WOTS) and Give Me Liberty (Liberty BIA) and this week I helped at the the Junction Summer Solstice Festival (Christine is now the Executive Director of the Junction BIA). I went down on Wednesday after sailing and put in 3, 12hr plus days. Events are fun if you are just helping, unbelievably hard work if you are responsible for them. I was very glad that this was "not my circus, not my monkeys" and I just needed to do what I was asked and trouble shoot as best I could.
I love the Junction area, walking around there are many trendy eating and drinking spots, clothing and furniture stores, juice and health food stores, butchers, bakeries and places to buy ice cream and gelato. But there are also places that look like they have been there for decades; appliance repairs, shoe repairs, etc. It is not yet super trendy but it is definitely on its way up.
The Dundas Highway was built as a military road in 1850 and the Keele family established a racecourse here (first running of the Queens Plate in 1860). The area was at the junction of 2 railway lines and became an important industrial area in the 1880s and has gone through a number of name changes, always including the word Junction, until amalgamated with the City of Toronto in 1909.

Christine asked me so many times if I liked the colour palette she had chosen for the planters, that I banned the phrase "colour palette", for the duration.
The Junction BIA office, and my "home" for 3 days, is through this door and upstairs. Floor to ceiling windows on 2 sides and overlooking Dundas and Pacific.

One of my main jobs was stocking the boxes and bins for the 4 information booths: decorations, misc supplies, pamphlets,  surveys, prizes and the gum ball machine balls (more on that later)

Also stocking the boxes for the 4 stages, electrical supplies, schedules, decorations
 In between were trips to stores for supplies, to Home Depot for a generator, photocopying, collating and.......
cutting out these little pieces of paper with prize names on them (water bottle, sunglasses, bubbles, tote bag). Then putting them in the clear plastic balls and counting them to match the number of prizes we had. I worked with 2 other volunteers on this job.

4 bubble gum machines for the 4 info booths.
 There was never a dull moment and a great variety of tasks to be completed.
I have no pictures of the actual event though I know there were a few photographers around and that Sarah was putting stuff up on social media. I was on dispatch, at the office, most of the day, listening and co-ordinating through the walkie talkie headset that began to feel like part of me. It is amazing what has to be accomplished for an event like this; all the permits and bureaucracy that has to be dealt with, businesses that need to be assisted and satisfied, volunteers that have to be found, scheduled and trained, bands and performers chosen and scheduled and accommodated, electricity and sound systems arranged,  street performers found, scheduled and co-ordinated, washrooms, tents, garbage and recycling,  tables, chairs, security, police and "the Keele guys" (from a nearby halfway house who did a lot of "the physically hard work) not to mention that a TTC bus had to be rerouted for the day.
Chris, Robyn and Peggy were phenomenal. Aside from all their pre-planning, they started the day, while it was still dark getting barricades, signs, garbage and the tents started. When I arrived at 7:30am they were in the throws of co-ordinating all the tents, tables, chairs and getting the stages built. When I was in bed, sleeping, that night, they were supervising and helping take down tents, chairs, toilets, barricades, garbage etc etc.
One of the street performers left his penny farthing in the office when he was out on his stilts.
I have no pictures, but I have little snapshots in my memory from when I walked the streets twice during the day (replacing walkie talkie batteries); a woman with a baby in a "snuglie" getting her picture taken with the guy in stilts when the baby wakes up and is just amazed, the banjo player serenading a couple in the front window of a restaurant, a couple struggling to decide were to eat because there were too many delicious things displayed out on the sidewalks, a group discussing whether you had to be high to paint like that while examining works at the art market, kids with fabulously painted faces, kids mesmerized by the magician, the acrobats, climbing on the pirate ship and drawing with chalk on the sidewalks, a little boy crying because his balloon animal burst in contact with hot pavement, 2 husky puppies curled up on a bench while their owners had a drink on a patio behind them, a volunteer at an info booth surrounded by people talking and handing out stuff as fast as she could, a volunteer stage manager who didn't need a walkie talkie because the bands were too loud for him to hear on one anyway, a couple dancing in a slow stylized manner and a woman spinning her 2 daughters around in front of the main stage, a band member asked if I was doing a Madonna impression (walking around with my headset on) and I said it was more likely I was Lily Tomlin as a phone operator, from Laugh In, and although he was young he laughed and recognized the character (though neither of us could remember if she had a name).
At the end of my shift, about 9pm, I sat on a patio with a glass of red wine and listened to TIKA, (a jazzy, soul singer) on the main stage, the next band, Sam Cash, was also good, which resulted in a second glass of wine and a need to take an Uber home to Chris and Jason's place.

1 comment:

  1. Your help was invaluable! Thank you so much for everything!