Monday, February 3, 2014

Tea Lovers Unite!

Ahhh…February, the month of love. It’s a time to express your deepest feelings to the love of your life and shower them with gifts of flowers, cards, and chocolates. Or not. This past weekend, all lovers of tea got together for the second annual Toronto Tea Festival.

It's demo time!

I was a volunteer at this year’s tea festival which was held in the Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library. This particular tea festival is pretty small in comparison to some other giants like the World Tea Expo, but it is in its infancy, so it has a long way to go. It was pretty packed, so a definite success I’d say. A tea lover’s delight! There was plenty to do and stuff to buy: tea-tastings, artwork, tea ceremony demonstrations, tea wares, lectures etc… 

OMG!  I love macaroons!

My duty as a volunteer was to provide support to the exhibitors by fetching water for tea making, help setting-up their displays, keep watch of their booth while they stepped out etc… Any help they needed in order to make things run smoothly for them. 

Rose buds.

Upon my arrival, I dutifully went to each vendor in the section I was stationed at to see if they required my assistance. With a few minor exceptions, it seemed all were set and ready to roll, so my help was not required just yet. Throughout my shift on each day, I rotated around to each vendor several times to see how things were going for them. All was well, and I eventually found myself just doing laps through the whole hall checking out the booths and watching the tea ceremony demonstrations taking place on stage. I did keep an eye on the exhibitors, but really, other volunteers along with myself did not have a whole lot to do. I even saw a few of the volunteers strolling up and down the aisles texting on their phones, and others sampling the teas and pastries being offered to them. With 20 minutes left in my shift on the first day, I decided to grab my camera to take pictures for this post. 

Tea samples.

I talked to quite a few exhibitors over the two days, even exchanging e-mails with some of them, so it was a great opportunity to network. As well, all volunteers got a Libre Mug as a gift for our time, so that was cool. It wasn't a bad event to volunteer at, but I have volunteered at much larger events doing longer shifts with plenty to do to pass away the time. 

Korean Tea Ceremony.

Hopefully with bigger sponsors and more vendors with each passing year, this festival will become just as big as the other tea festivals in other cities. I even heard they were planning to move to a larger venue next year. Volunteering on the festival committee had crossed my mind, especially now that I have an idea on how the show ran. Something to consider for sure, as I get myself more involved with one of my passions!

Funky candle holder.

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