Here are some experiences from volunteers:
Assistant Exhibition manager
I am Sanne Wijers, I'm from the Netherlands. I have been on the fair 2 times so far as an assistant exhibition manager. My job as an assistent exhibition manager is to help the exhibition manager to keep close contact with the stands and make sure that everyone is happy on the terrain where i'm working. This is a job that starts on the friday when the stands arrive to the terrain. We have to make sure that they stick to the rules such as not to drive on the grass, and we guide them to the place where they should be. After that we make sure that they have all the things they asked for in the contract, like chairs and tables, and ask if everything is as they expected. The next 2 days the festival will be there, and except for helping the stands you will also have to answer questions from visitors. Those days you keep communicating with the stands to keep a good bond so they want to come back the next year. Other than that you make sure that the place stays clean and know what to do when something happens. You are always ready to jump in when you are needed and communicate with the rest of the volunteers to make the elf fantasy fair a place that nobody will forget.
The reason of my desision to volunteer as an Assistant Exhibitor Manager is because of the study I do right now. I am learning to become a frontdesk employee in a hotel. The job gave me an amazing experience in real life and it made things in school easier to learn.
With this experience you learn how to communicate with the stands and with visitors. You know how to make a bond with people and keep it up, to be costumer friendly. You learn to be responsible and how to solve any problems. You also learn to be independant and give the information people ask for in any way. That means that if you don't know it, you do everything to find it out. You can also work on languages that you know, or would love to learn because stands and visitors can come from all over the world.
Next to the duties you are on through the days, you spend a lot of time with the other volunteers. You eat together, sleep on a camping and every night you enjoy the campfire with the other volunteers. Those days you realy get to know eachother and you stay friends with most of them. Everyone is always friendly and helpful.
It's one amazing experience you will never forget!
I have been working at the Elfia for the past few years and had the opportunity to work at many different places. Every job gave me experience, friends and a lot of fun! I still see many of my colleagues, now friends, throughout the year outside the Fair. I think one of the best times was when I was working at the main entrance. Everybody comes past there: other volunteers, visitors, actors,writers, bands and all the other special people.
I also had a great time being in distribution. Here you work with one other person and you organize
all the things (think of clothing, belts, keys, etc.) and hand them out to the people who need it. It
gives you a great feeling of responsibility. You handle with problems and questions.
Overall there is a sort of ‘family’ feeling. In the evenings, everybody comes together to the campfire
to talk about everything and nothing and just to have fun and relax. I can imaging seeing myself there for the next few years!
Since September 2009 I'm volunteering at the Elfia. I've done all sorts of services, like manning the gate and helping with building and deconstructing of the Castle venue. You might have seen me strolling dressed as a guard in the last editions of the Elfia. Since September 2011 I'm one of the Elfian Royal Guards, formerly known as the Elf Garbage Guards. As such we escort the Kings and Queens of Elfia, we guide the parades and you can see us gathering litter from the venue with our halberds.
As Guard I play a scaredy-cat, although in this role I dare to face up to things, which otherwise I would find pretty challenging. That's what makes it so much fun! The characteristics that make the Elfian Garbage Guards into such a powerful symbol are
their gullibility, theatrical behavior and exaggerated jolly. Even though these are not qualities I always implement in my daily life, it's even nicer to elaborate in this role.
Once I'm completely dressed up as an Elf Garbage Guard, I'm in character in no time. As of that moment I would like to stay in character, even when I'm alone with other volunteers or friends.