True Confessions of an OBF Volunteer

IMG_0254 Witness the hot, sweaty, tired yet happy Oregon Brewer’s Festival volunteer, after four hours of doling out tokens to beer lovers of all stripes (and a significant number of people who didn’t get the concept).

This year I only had one guy argue with me that there should be pitchers available for a token apiece. I pointed out that PBR was not available at the OBF. And there was the woman who insisted that the same mugs were used at the Boise Brew Fest a week ago, with the OBF logo on them, and why should she pay for a second one since she had the Boise one at home— in Boise. And no, we don’t have color-change mugs, um, what year exactly were the mugs color-changing? I don’t remember that… no, they’re all red, I don’t care if you don’t like the color red, red’s the color you’re getting.

Those were just the ones who stood out. As usual, the interaction with guests was overwhelmingly positive, including the group of several guys who were just accompanying their buddy to get more tokens, each of whom insisted on high-fiving me. Or the nice couple, who had asked me for recommendations and I’d confessed I hadn’t tried any beers yet, who came back through my line specifically to tell me what they liked.

Isn’t the t-shirt great this year? I love the color and the logo (which you can’t see very well in this shot, but trust me, it’s nice).

One thing I really liked about the gig this year was the introduction of the package system. You cannot buy your mug seperate, you have to buy it in a ‘package’, or as I began calling it, the ‘starter set’. $10 gets you the mug and 4 tokens, $20 gets you the mug and 14 tokens, $50 gets you two mugs and 39 tokens.

Why did I like the system? Because as a token seller, people would come up, hand me $20, I would hand them a bag of 10 tokens I’d counted 4 extra into, a mug, and a program, then shout, “Who doesn’t want to wait in line?” and get someone over to my till so I could send them on their way to Beervana.


The Friday night shift is vastly different from my traditional Saturday 12-4 shift. It was steady, but there were a significant number of times where the line was only 2-3 groups deep. There were also a significant number of women in impractical shoes, do I have to remind everyone once again that stilettos and grass/sand do not play well together?

By the way, the women in impractical shoes were pretty much the only takers of the $10 package.

After my volunteer shift, they let me loose into the Fest with my free mug and some free tokens. But I’d also done a full shift* at Big Ol’ Hospital, so I just walked to the bus stop and went home. This morning I’m strapping on my shoes and clipping my mug on my belt loop and heading out to the OBF to enjoy the event. I’ll be the very serious woman with the checklist in her hand running back and forth between tap trucks.

Thanks to all the volunteers, coordinators, and staff at the OBF who make the gig fantastic, year after year!


*okay, I took half an hour of vacation time to make sure I made it on time for my volunteer shift, whatever.

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