Non-profit volunteers help make Country Fest a success

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By the time most Country Festers get to the grounds, everything from the food to the tents are ready to go. But it takes a lot of hard work by volunteers like the Chippewa Youth Hockey Association.

The association's president Bob Normand said it's the third year the group has contracted with Country Fest. Around a thousand shifts at hundreds of the group's volunteers are working the tents, food and soda booths, drink tents and helping setup and cleanup after.

"The money we raised here at Country Fest helps us keep the fees down for the kids, allows us to bring anybody who wants to skate come in and skate and allows us to improve our facilities," said Norman. "We need the dollars and we need the help and we have a great group of volunteers that do that."

He said the non-profit averages about $50,000 from volunteering at Country and Rock Fest, as they earn about 25 cents from each ticket sold.

"Ours is a youth organization and we are actually one of the only organizations in the entire state that operates two rinks of ice with all volunteers," said Norman.

Last year, they were able to purchase a Zamboni and this year, they're working on putting in a dehumidification in the rinks.

Figure skater Brittany Stelter has been on the rink for about eight years. But taking time off the rink and volunteering at Country Fest is A-Okay by her.

"It's a lot of fun helping out the community and you also get a free ticket to get in so that's a bonus but its a lot of to see all the people and everything," said Stelter who watched Blake Shelton perform the first night. She said she's looking forward to seeing Florida Georgia Line on Sunday.

Stelter and fellow skater Cailin Armstrong are baking pizza and serving soda at one of the tents.

"My whole family works here so I do pizza and pop and my mom does like alcohol down in VIP and my dad's a runner," said Armstrong who plays hockey for Chi-Hi. Armstrong has been volunteering for three years.

Norman said in the end, everything the organization does is for the kids.

"I have a shirt on that says 'I have no life' on the front and on the back its says 'It's because my kids skate', and as a hockey parent or a figure skating parent we spend a lot of time at the hockey rink with our kids and we do this because we love the sport we love the kids and we want them all to have fun," said Norman.

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