In 2019, Jacque Swartout stumbled upon a Facebook ad seeking help for the Scott City Renaissance Festival. Little did she know that saying “yes” to volunteering would lead to a transformative journey. Swartout turned her passion for Renaissance festivals into a leadership role. Teaming up with other volunteers Swartout navigated the challenges of organizing an event and evolving it into a non-profit 501 (c)(3) named the Silver Sage Renaissance Festival by 2021.
Transforming Volunteering into Non-Profit Leadership
Having experienced Renaissance Fairs in California through her mom’s involvement. Jacque’s initial return to festival organizing was more about giving back to the community. Whereas in the past she had been a vendor. The transition from a vendor role in her youth to a managerial position was daunting. However, her commitment to community service and creativity drove her forward.
Organizing an event while juggling a full-time job and family responsibilities is no small feat. Jacque emphasizes the importance of time management and the belief that everyone can contribute, no matter how busy they are. Despite no longer residing in Western Kansas, Jacque manages the festival from Missouri, underscoring her dedication to bringing a touch of magic to the region.
Commitment Beyond Geographic Boundaries
Reflecting on lessons learned, collaboration emerges as a key theme. Jacque leans on friends and locals for support, recognizing the value of treating people right in any endeavor. The festival has grown and found its footing, offering a unique blend of magic, mystery, creativity, and education.
Looking ahead, Jacque envisions the festival becoming a platform for individual empowerment, encouraging people to turn their creative endeavors into economic opportunities. She hopes attendees leave the festival feeling inspired and nostalgic, recapturing the magic of childhood and fostering a positive mindset.
Nostalgia and Inspiration
Despite the challenges, Jacque remains passionate about the festival’s potential impact on the community. The ultimate goal is to create an immersive family experience where attendees can embrace their creativity, dressing up and letting their inner child run free.
Wisdom for Aspiring Festival Organizers and Next Chapter
For those contemplating similar ventures, Jacque emphasizes equal parts ambition, drive, and collaboration. Building a passionate team is crucial, and continuous immersion is key to developing a cultural understanding of the event. She acknowledges the uphill battle of creating awareness and urges aspiring organizers to be prepared for a five-year commitment, requiring dedication and hard work.
As the Silver Sage Renaissance Festival continues to flourish, Jacque invites everyone to the next edition on June 8th and 9th, 2024. She hopes attendees will fully immerse themselves in the experience, donning costumes and rediscovering the joy of being young at heart. The festival stands as a testament to the transformative power of passion, dedication, and a commitment to community enchantment.
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