An Intern’s First Festival

An Intern’s First Festival

Posted on October 10 by Kyle
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

(because you can’t go to Word on the Street and not talk about it.)

Starting a marketing internship in September means a lot of things, from working with a very full fall list (so many amazing books!), to getting to participate in one of Canada’s biggest literary festival there is, Word on the Street. As my first Word on the Street, I was super excited to not only go, but to help out with it as well. And for anyone thinking about going, or wondering what it’s all about, here’s a handy little guide from your trusty Dundurn intern.

First of all, it’s easy to forget about all the prep that goes into getting ready for a festival! While the day was exciting and busy, it was the week before that brought the brunt of the work; tasks that definitely let my penchant for arts and crafts take over. With cutting and pasting, and then more cutting, I definitely gained an appreciation for all the work that goes into events like this. Organization, not surprisingly, is key!

On the day in question, September’s Toronto heat wave extended to September 24th. It felt like the hottest day of the year, but it didn’t stop people from coming out in full force. I started later in the day, so I could walk around a bit and check out a couple of publisher tents before starting my shift.

Even if you’re just there to work, it’s a good idea to bring some cash, because I ended up adding extensively to my personal book collection by the end of the day (I even got free buttons!). I was even able to finagle a friend into buying one of Dundurn’s excellent mystery book bags, definitely a perk of being behind the scenes and being able to talk up everything we had to offer.

I got to take charge of the prize wheel during my shift, which meant getting to see kids’ faces light up when they got to spin the wheel. I can honestly say that their excitement actually made me want to spin the wheel myself! I also got to blow up a number of balloons, a task that turned into something a little bit more dangerous than expected! At one point, my embarrassing struggle with the helium tank proved too much and it let off a noise that sounded something like an explosion (and gained enough attention to suggest as much). By the end of the day, the story of my mistake had ballooned (pun intended) into an actual, significantly more dangerous, tank explosion. It just goes to show how weird and fun a festival can be.

By the end of Word on the Street, I was suffering from the heat of the day, but I still wanted to do and see a lot more. For my first festival I’d count it a win, but I can’t wait to see what happens next year.