As is true of so many valued volunteers at Folkmoot, Bill and Louise Voreis stand out for their support of and passion for Folkmoot. They are invaluable to Folkmoot, especially when it comes to managing the souvenir shop every summer during the festival. Every important event has souvenirs, and Folkmoot’s summer festival is no exception. With thousands in attendance, it is a huge responsibility that Bill and Louise do year after year.
Although Bill and Louise are now practically when it comes to managing the souvenir shop, it was not always this way. The Voreis’s first became involved with Folkmoot in the early 2000’s when they made the long trip from their home state of Florida to North Carolina to see family. Once here, they heard about Folkmoot and decided to attend the festival. After doing so, they became enamored and wanted to become involved. So, every summer for the next two or three years, they made the long trip up to North Carolina to volunteer. Soon, they were asked to manage souvenirs during the festival. With their attitude of servitude for Folkmoot, they jumped at the chance to help in any way they were needed.
As they are now in charge of managing the souvenirs, Bill and Louise are also in charge of making an inventory of all the souvenirs, cleaning the souvenir room, storing the souvenirs, and displaying them at the festival. Every year, about two to three weeks before the festival begins, Bill and Louise make the trip to North Carolina. As Louise notes, their early arrival is for preparation, which generally consists of multiple trips to Ingles and Walmart, both for themselves and for the festival.
Bill and Louise fall in love with all of the different groups that perform each year. They love being in charge of souvenirs because most of the groups like to congregate around the souvenir room, meaning Bill and Louise have more exposure to the groups than most of the other volunteers. They also really love to see people from countries with histories of not being friendly, getting along. They say that it is heartwarming to see people who come from such countries enjoying each other. They also really like that a lot of the countries have invited them to visit them in their home country, including France.
Although they spend every summer hours away from home, they both say that the trip and time put forth is worth the outcome. They love the way the festival impacts the community, and this is the reason they put so much time and effort into volunteering with Folkmoot. Though Bill and Louise appreciate being in the “Volunteer Spotlight,” they both noted that it is ALL of the volunteers who contribute to the success of the festival.