The Heart of Suwanee

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Cue the confetti, the rumble of drums and the clear, high trumpets from down the street. You know the scene: lawn chairs line the curb as children chatter excitedly, empty grocery bags in hand. The music gets louder as the parade slowly approaches: ornately decorated floats, dancers and Model T’s, the marching band and impending Snickers grenades. That’s right–it’s Suwanee Day. Each year, this parade kicks off what is truly a unique and inspiring town festival.

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“Suwanee Day is a celebration of community,” says Pascha Dudley, Volunteer Coordinator for the annual event. “We celebrate our likenesses, differences, and enjoy coming together to show just how great it is to be in Suwanee, Georgia.” From bounce houses to story tellers, flash mobs to local musicians–we have to agree: it does sound pretty great to be in Suwanee, Georgia! We’re not alone: this year’s celebration attracted nearly 58,000 attendees.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, planning for the Suwanee Day festival begins one year in advance, and the actual day of the event calls for over 260 volunteers. “When I joined the board, we had a volunteer database on our website,” says Pascha. “I’m not a techie, but I’m savvy. I said, ‘No. There is a better way to do this.’” The Suwanee team signed up for VolunteerLocal in early May, and began promoting open volunteer positions in September. “It was great. I could just click buttons to organize all my volunteers, whereas before I had to organize it all on excel. It saved me days of work,” she says. “Days!

This year’s celebration ended with a bang–a chorus of fireworks ushered the festivities from the town center back to the drawing board for next year’s planning committee. “We’ve already met to discuss the turnout and what we’d like to change for next year,” says Pascha. “We’re absolutely going to use VolunteerLocal again.” Online volunteer management: just one more tradition for a festival that began before even the first stop light was installed in Suwanee, Georgia.

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