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Cheese Curd Festival volunteers support local nonprofits

Take a cue from these girls, and sign up to volunteer at the 17th annual Cheese Curd Festival. Volunteer hours translate to dollars donated to local nonprofits. Submitted photo

Submitted by Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce

Cheese Curd Festival organizers are putting a call out to area residents to support their favorite local non-profit organizations by volunteering at the 17th annual Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival.

This year's festival takes place on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23, at Ellsworth's East End Park. Once again the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce is rewarding volunteers for their hard work at the festival with a volunteer program that gives back to local non-profit organizations.

For each hour worked at the festival, $10 is given back to participating organizations. Volunteers can select the organizations they wish to support.

"Those hours really add up," said Paul Bauer, CEO/Manager at Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and co-chair of the Cheese Curd Festival Committee.

Bauer pointed out that most fundraisers require a non-profit to spend volunteer time planning and organizing and risking their own money before they see any benefit or payoff for their efforts. With this opportunity, volunteers can invest 100 percent of their time into supporting their favorite local organizations.

"An organization can pull down $1,000 pretty easily," added Bauer.

Most shifts are three hours long, which makes finding time to volunteer easier to work into busy schedules. Positions range from serving cheese curds at the Chamber's Cheese Curd Central booth, to serving guests at the festival bars, answering visitors' questions at the Curd-esy booth, helping at various tasting events and more. Volunteers can sign up for as many shifts as their schedule allows and there are positions suitable for all ages.

This year there are over 300 shifts to fill, which breaks down to $10,000 available to support local non-profits. As further incentive to volunteer and promote the festival to family and friends, if the festival does well, organizations also benefit from a profit-sharing bonus. Last year $6,000 in hourly payouts and profit-sharing bonuses were distributed to six area non-profits. This year there are 10 organizations participating.

"We know we're going to need more help this year," said Becky Beissel, Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Team member. "The response from promotional efforts so far has been amazing, with website traffic and engagement on our Facebook page far surpassing last year's numbers. We're taking the interest as an indication that this year's attendance will surpass expectations, too."

A list of local organizations participating in the program and positions and shifts volunteers can sign up for can be found on the Cheese Curd Festival website by clicking on "Volunteer" at cheesecurdfestival.com/participate. Volunteers can also learn more by calling the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce at 715-273-6442.

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