PUBLISHED: 4:48 PM on Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Volunteers keeps Blueberry Fest rolling

Courtesy photo
  Volunteers and participants anticipate the Blueberry Ball Roll in Ketchikan.
The Great Blue Berry Ball Roll has taken place in Ketchikan for seven years at the Blue Berry Arts Festival.

Many people still are not sure exactly happens when they purchase a Great Blue Berry Ball Raffle Ticket.

There are those who think their name will be swirled around in a large box or shaken up in jar.

They all know they might win cash, but most don't know that their ticket becomes part of a bigger event.

It in fact, becomes part of the famous Blue Berry Arts Festival put on by the area Arts and Humanities Council.

The ticket number matches what we like to call a "Blueberry" ripened just in time for the Blue Berry Festival. It is at the precise hour of 3 p.m. when it is launched with 1500 others down Main Street hill.

It isn't just any little racquetball - no it is simply the one purchased out of the goodness of your heart to support the Ketchikan Youth Court.

Surrounded by a huge crowd it is the one determined to win, but just as happy to free bouncing down the hill.

The goal is to be to be the first blueberry ball into the funnel.

However, slanted streets, pushy competitors, and bumps in the road don't always allow the front-runner to make it into the funnel first. The crowd cheers as the blueberry balls gather speed down Main Street.

It is always a surprise which blueberry rolls in to win. It is a bigger surprise how fast the event is over.

The preparation has been intense, and ticket sellers have had enough. The membership wants to get back to day-to-day operations.

A family of three lets out a huge sign of relief. They were finally able to set the blueberry balls free after spending hours of counting, organizing, and labeling them.

Once again the family helped assure that every ticket sold made it into the ripened berry bin, and each one is counted for in the end. Who are these people and why do they do what do?

It is to our great pleasure to introduce Tammy, Fred and Alejandro Chavarria.

They are our silent heroes of the Great Blue Berry Ball Event. We thank them for not only being part of the Ketchikan Youth Court for six years in many different ways, but truly instrumental in helping to assure that the Ketchikan Youth Court's main fund-raiser has continue to flourish and grow.

They helped make this fund-raiser grow by encouraging and helping all the membership sell tickets, and giving businesses an option to purchasing tickets too.

There are many of us who never want to see another raffle ticket or racquetballs again, but that usually wears off when the next year comes around.

It hard work, time consuming, and intense, but watching the Chavarria family gives us all a great appreciate for each and every raffle ticket we sell.

It is not easy, but the Chavarria family shows us what it truly is to be committed as volunteers.

They are taking care of the details - counting, numbering, cleaning and bagging the racquetballs.

They build a launch, count the cones and finalize the funnel for the event.

If we were to peek in their window we would see the burning the midnight oil just to make sure that your number makes in to the bin and safety secured in bins in the back of the van.

If that is not enough - take the end of the event. Transporting, bagging, and organizing everything once again so you and I can be assured that next year yet again our little purchase to support the Ketchikan Youth Court will once again be bouncing down the hill in hope that it might just once hit the funnel first. It will be there in part because the Chavarria made sure it was numbered just for us.

Thank you to all of the silent volunteers who make our community a wonderful place to live.

We are lucky folks at Ketchikan Youth Court to have had the opportunity and privilege to work with Chavarria family.