Volunteers sought for annual Egg Days festival in Winlock


All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but a group of volunteers can put together Winlock Egg Days, a Lewis County tradition.

A trend, however, has been hitting community organizations and volunteer groups, making it more difficult to hold these events.

Egg Days organizer Misti Mayo said small-town festivals are struggling because the current group of volunteers is getting older while younger volunteers have yet to materialize in meaningful numbers.

Mayo said that a lack of volunteers is affecting all community organizations, even groups like the Lions Club and American Legion. It's also impacting festival organizations such as the ones that put together Egg Days in Winlock.

"Other volunteer problem areas seem to be miscommunication. We have the folks who see volunteer requests as a plea for ideas. More than likely the group has an abundance of 'ideas' but no bodies to put these ideas into action. These folks rarely want to actually do anything but bring in ideas," Mayo said. "Additionally, we have those volunteers that don't know what they want to do, but do know what they don't want to do. Unfortunately, these folks attend meetings, but rarely step up to take on responsibilities. Volunteering is supposed to be fun and satisfying. If you don't like the first task you're given, move to another area until you find a good fit. We're all volunteering, so don't be afraid to speak up."

Mayo said some people want to volunteer but are unsure what they want to do, and when they're assigned a role, it's not something they want to do. Knowing someone's skills and strengths when they volunteer is helpful for festival organizers to get people in spots they want to be in.

"I have asked myself many times what is causing this. COVID? Nope, it was happening before that hit," Mayo said. "Is this the new normal? From technology to COVID at least a generation or two has gone from group socializing to being sequestered behind a screen or mask."

Mayo added that older generations, who set a volunteer precedence, are ready to slow down and pass the responsibility on.

Egg Days has a core group of six to 10 volunteers attending monthly planning meetings. They have officers, but their roles don't stop there, as they also have to serve on additional committees that oversee various aspects of the festival.

"In a perfect egg world, each committee would have at least three to four volunteers working together," Mayo said. "By having a chair and co-chair on each committee plus additional volunteers, we ensure that no matter what — illness, emergencies, life — no one is left in a lurch on Egg Day."

Unfortunately, Mayo added, the organization lacks volunteers, and too few people are wearing too many hats.

"One of our busiest committees and the one needing the most volunteers is our Royalty Committee as they continue to make appearances in parades and events throughout the year," Mayo said. "We are always on the lookout for volunteers to drive, chaperone and help decorate the egg float."

Mayo added that many volunteer positions are only needed for Egg Day, such as parade route markers, parade monitors, judges, announcers and clean-up crews.

"These are one-day tasks and only require one meeting with a committee leader to be told about your responsibilities," Mayo said.

One of the biggest goals moving forward for Egg Days is to involve other community organizations, such as churches, schools, clubs and businesses, to help spread out the volunteer manpower and take some of the heavy lifting off the Egg Day volunteers. Additionally, this allows the event to have more activities for visitors and fundraising capabilities for the community. Mayo said they are excited to welcome the Lewis County Rock and Gem Society to Egg Days festivities this year and hope to make this an annual eggsperience.

The Egg Days organization has posted calls for more volunteers on social media. The sooner they can get people together, the quicker committees can be formed and people assigned tasks. This means things will come together smoothly.

"When you volunteer for an annual event that has been held since 1921, it can't be a last minute thrown together thing or it shows," Mayo said. "The more time we have to iron out details, the better our festival will be."

While the event is on June 14-16, there is a lot to be done in a limited period of time.

"We're in the process of inviting previous parade entries and vendors to join us again and always looking to invite new participants," Mayo said. "We're currently concentrating on ad sales for our annual souvenir program. The last day to purchase an ad is April 1."

And the search has begun for the 2024 Egg Days royalty. Kids between the ages of 14 and 18 who are interested in becoming an ambassador of Winlock and Egg Days can put in an application between now and March 21 by 7 p.m. at the Winlock Community building. Applications can be found on the Egg Days website or by emailing officialeggday@gmail.com

For more information about Egg Days and volunteering, go to www.winlockeggs.com. To volunteer, go to the "forms" page on the website.