By about midday on the Saturday, something, or more often multiple things have usually gone wrong during set-up for Party In The Park the next day. And it has often been traceable to delays, confusion and task-juggling caused ultimately by having too few volunteers to do the job as smoothly as we would like.
But this year was different. Marquees went up in record time, tables and chairs found their way to their appointed positions in time and nobody (OK almost nobody) was in a state of frazzled exasperation.
So what was different this year? The answer, we're pleased to say, was an influx of volunteers which allowed the event to run pretty well fully-staffed for the first time ever. First-time volunteer manager Mike Fox, only slightly daunted despite having no prior event management experience, applied a scientific approach to identifying possible volunteers in the PCA membership database, and harnessed the power of the Pitshanger Portal to provide regular and clear updates of volunteering vacancies, and an easy to use web form for volunteers to pick a job. And it worked.
Party In The Park itself was blessed with glorious weather. Attendance was up there with the best we have seen, and we probably broke the records for programmes sold, burgers eaten and pints drunk, with the beer tent and the PCA barbecue both eventually running out. Our stage acts danced, played and sang their hearts out, the antique carousel whirled its way through the afternoon, dogs mostly behaved themselves in the arena and an eclectic programme of live music in the beer tent was brought to a tumultuous close by the ever popular Muttz Knuttz.
When it came to clearing down the site on the Sunday evening and Monday, everything again went smoothly as we had the right number of people available. Volunteers! We salute you, and please do keep your diaries clear for Light Up The Lane on Sunday 24th November.
Party In the Park is expensive to put on – about £20,000 all told – but given the great weather and record-equalling attendance, we hope to be able to report a healthy surplus in due course once all the invoices have been settled.
...and finally, we're looking after the usual crop of lost property, so if you've lost a child's scooter, a bunch of keys (not car), a silver bracelet, a black cardigan, a blue sun hat, a child's navy cardigan, a child's white cardigan, a pink hairband, a white wool scarf, a pair of sunglasses (Aidan Meadows), a pearl hair clip, a red spotted sun hat, a cat hair clip, a white baseball cap, a pair of multi-coloured glasses or one left foot baby shoe, please contact Lynda Pullman at lynda [dot] pullman [at] pitshanger [dot] org [dot] uk.