Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thanks to the H Street Festival organizing committee & volunteers

A ton of work went into pulling together the H Street Festival, which was bigger and better than ever again this year.  Here's some (slightly edited) notes from our friend Julia and others on the Committee who did so much to make a great day possible.  Be sure to buy them a drink next time you see them in the neighborhood and let them know if you're willing to volunnteer with them to take next year's Festival to even greater heights.

Thanks all.  It was an awesome Festival and an excellent showing of all the things that make H Street great!
Main Committee (from the start): Anwar Saleem (HSMS) & Julia Robey Christian (CHAMPS) the main festival organizers for lack of official term.  Jen DeMayo said "Anwar and Julia were truly phenomenal those last few days. I don't know how they do it."

Dolly Vehlow - deserves great credit for churning out all of the print collateral for the Festival one after another. She also was instrumental in programming a lot of the activities including the art cars, artists, kids zone, adult games, pie eating contest, tattoo contest, hair show ... she basically picked up the pieces and made things happen.  I think Dolly can't been thanked enough. And her husband Steve Hessler too.  They pay for the art cars to all come here. They put the artists up in a hotel. Part of the reason the festival has taken this fabulous turn for the funky is definitely due to their participation and dedication. Steve also booked the 14th Street Stage and sponsored it.

Roger Caruth - was amazing. He not only booked the 8th Street stage, but he jumped in whenever asked and worked hard no matter what it was. In the final days when he knew that Anwar and I were struggling to stay awake and alive, he would just show up and ask what needed to be done and do it, no questions asked. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to know him now!

Sara Loveland - took over organizing and programming the Green Street area and also jumped in as needed to support the rest of the committee.

Mark Thorp - was the sanity meter of the group. As soon as anyone would get out of line, Mark would get us back on track. He also pushed us to think big, to think about spectacle and challenged us to come up with things that would be unique and interesting and would be things we could build on year after year. He was kind of like the mental rock of the group. He also made the Kostume Karaoke stage, the DJ Stage, and the pedal powered trolley car happen.

Jen DeMayo - handled coordinating the Atlas open house, JoM stage, Gospel Stage etc. Also handled vetting of and organizing of volunteers and was generally our queen of positivity. When things got heavy or dramatic, Jen was always the one to throw a light hearted comment in that would break the ice for people. Just this aspect alone was crucial for us to get through some of the difficult times we all faced. She also, I might add, was very impressive as we walked around at 7pm and single handedly broke down everyone's patio so we could all get out of there. She and I were throwing barriers, tables, chairs like we were made to do it. In a word, she was a ROCKSTAR. She also managed the Gallaudet group.

additions to the committee: (after the jump)

Patrick Oberman - in a word, AMAZING. Patrick came on at the end as a volunteer and this guy hit the ground running and did not stop. He listened, he followed instructions and he never once complained no matter how menial a task he was asked to do. Patrick is very involved with Artomatic so had lots of experiences with festivals with lots of moving parts. I don't know what we would have done with out him. He worked until the bitter end of the festival and never once uttered so much as a sigh. Seriously good people.

Leonard Howell -  on the day of, he responded to any call on the walkie talkie and jumped in where needed.

Jaki Downs - made the sponsor bags and generally took on and completed any task given to her and (very important) she brought us beers.

Jacqueline Johnson - Jacqueline joined the group towards the end and was the master of the sponsors. She greeted them as they arrived and made sure they were taken care of. She also helped us draft materials for them.

Joan Brickhouse - she was a rockstar. This girl came in in the last couple of weeks and got the whole fashion stage kind of thrown at her. And she RAN with it. She owned that stage, ran it and did a phenomenal job.

Orlando Brooks - Another stellar day-of volunteer. Hit the ground running and jumped in wherever necessary. Another pillar of strength for the group.

Rachel Pearl organized and managed the dance floor on behalf of Joy of Motion. Rachel and some of the crew from Atlas moved the floor tile by tile to back in front of the studios and they were rock stars.  Jen DeMayo and her are already planning Thriller on H!


  1. Great job on the post. I had been meaning to draft one like this. They all deserve a huge round of thanks!

  2. Congratulations and great work, everyone! H Street Festival is easily becoming DC's Mardi Gras. A special thanks to Dolly and Steve for those fabulous art cars!