Dating back to 1974, April has been recognized as National Volunteer Month; a time to encourage volunteerism and recognize volunteers for their contributions in our communities. Did you know that every year, approximately 125 to 150 volunteers sign up for the Living Traditions Festival? There’s no way the Living Traditions Festival could function without a team of dedicated and hard-working volunteers. Volunteers have been the unsung heroes of the festival for three decades and counting.

During the Living Traditions weekend, festival volunteers assist in many different areas from hospitality and beverage sales to production and even a Green Team that helps keep the grounds clean and encourages recycling best practices.

One of the best things about volunteering is not only making a difference in the community, but also the chance to make new friends and the good feeling that comes from dedicating time and effort to a worthy cause or event.

Depending on the nature of a volunteer assignment, it’s not hard to find opportunities no matter where you live. Our festival volunteers don’t need to run a four-minute mile, have a cure for male-pattern baldness or be a MacArthur Fellowship recipient to join the ranks of the Living Traditions Festival volunteer crew. Sure, there’s an application process, but the need for volunteers is constant and it’s a great way to get outside and see such a large representation of cultures from around the world.

As a Salt Lake City native, Ramon Toledo is a busy guy during the day and in the volunteers living traditions2evenings. With two jobs, he doesn’t have much free time. But when it comes to supporting community events, Ramon makes time to volunteer, especially during the summer months.

Having grown up in the Avenues and graduated from West High, Ramon later obtained an associate degree in Special Education and earned his bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies. He works for the Salt Lake City School District in after-school programs helping kids with homework, math activities and other areas assigned. At night, he works security at area music clubs and concert venues. But when it comes to volunteering, he is happy for the change of scenery of where he can be more a Johnny on the Spot and fill roles in different places on the grounds of Library Square.

“When I started with the Living Traditions Festival, I was a greeter at the entrance. I’d simply welcome people at the gates and let them know that security would check their big bags on the way in,” said Ramon who is going on his second year selling non-alcoholic beverages and water to thirsty festival patrons. “Volunteering has allowed me to meet so many amazing people. I’m especially excited this year because my birthday falls on the first day of the festival when I’m volunteering so that will be fun.” For more information about volunteering for the Festival, please click here.

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