OTW Volunteers Remember Their Years of Service

By: Jessica Geraci Email
By: Jessica Geraci Email

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Letters will go out Monday to more than 4,000 OTW volunteers. Organizers credit low ticket sales and expensive entertainment for the end of the event. Volunteer who gave hundreds of hours to the event are reflecting on the end of On The Waterfront.

Adams sorts through a box of On The Waterfront buttons as she recalls her decades volunteering at the festival. "Every year we had a different color for the steering committee, it’s called the steering committee, we had a different colored shirt," says Cathy Adams, an event manager for On The Waterfront. "We started out by doing ticket booths, button booths, the most fun we had was the Hoffman House beef sandwiches."

Adams worked for more than 20 years at the festival, spending much of her time organizing the thousands of volunteers who chipped in during the three day event. Declining ticket sales played a major part in the festival's demise, along with more expensive acts and a rough economy.

"We used to say there'd be 300,000 people over the three days of the event. That started to fall off. I think in the last couple years it was down to 150,000 to 200,000 people in the weekend," says On The Waterfront Board Chairman Tom Walsh.

Walsh is also a member of the RAVE board which hopes to keep the spirit of On The Waterfront alive.

"RAVE is planning to continue to hold concerts in the park, hopefully we’ll have something on Labor Day weekend," adds Walsh.

He says, he's most proud of the 10 million dollars raised over 29 years for local not-for-profits. Adams agrees, adding it’s the hard working people she'll miss the most.

"I can’t ever express the love for all the people and happiness, yeah there were some bad incident but you forget those,” says Adams.

The OTW board plans to release more details in a new release on Monday.

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