Guests enjoy Artsfest on Walnut Street. The festival, May 7-8, is in need of volunteers. (Photo: Downtown Springfield Association)

Artsfest on Walnut Street falls on Mother’s Day in 2022, for the first time in years. While it makes for a charming way to celebrate and spoil mothers, it is presenting challenges for festival organizers.

Sarah Abele, director of marketing and development for the Springfield Regional Arts Council, said a confluence of events has hampered volunteer recruitment. That includes finals for the city’s college students as well as high school graduations.

“Historically we’ve needed about 130-140 total volunteer slots and we’re still down — as of (April 20) — about 80 volunteer slots,” Abele said. “Not 80 volunteers, but 80 slots.”

Those slots include tasks like taking money at the entrance gates, selling cold drinks to thirsty guests and assisting the artists who sell their work at the festival. 

“We really need a lot of help with Coke stands, which are great for families,” Abele said. “It’s a great way to teach our kids responsibility. People can bring their moms and volunteer together, then go enjoy the festival and let her pick out a Mother’s Day present.”

Shifts are 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. All volunteers receive free admission to Artsfest on Walnut and a 50 percent discount on a 2022 Artsfest T-shirt. There are more perks for those who work extra.

“If you volunteer for two shifts you get a free Artsfest T-shirt designed by Culture Flock, which is very exciting,” Abele said.

Visit the Artsfest website for more information and to sign up to volunteer.

“It’s a really great way to get plugged into your community and experience the arts from a little bit of a different perspective,” Abele said. “We love throwing Artsfest, but there’s a lot of time, energy and love from a huge group of people and volunteers are really the lifeblood of the festival. The only way we can do this for our community is with the help of our community.”

Organizers say there is not a threat of Artsfest not happening due to staffing shortages. For now, the show is expected to go on.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger