Vegfest Volunteer FAQ

Where, when, and to whom do I report at the event?

Go to the Vegfest Location on Mercer Street, enter to the right of the ticket booths, and you will find the volunteer check-in area on your right. Arrival time on Saturday and Sunday includes 30-45 minutes before the start of your 4-hour shift. Friday volunteers will be informally directed to a job by the Volunteer Coordinator. Saturday and Sunday volunteers will check in at volunteer check-in and attend an orientation before being directed to a job by the Volunteer Coordinator.

Can I sit down during my shift?

If you are a food demonstrator, ticket salesperson, or volunteer check-in assistant, the answer is yes. There will be a chair behind your table for you to sit down when you need to. Other roles like Chef’s Assistant, Supplies, Greeting, and Stocking are active. You may be on your feet for the entire shift.

Will I get a break during my shift?

Volunteer shifts are planned carefully to ensure that key positions are staffed at all times, so we encourage you to keep breaks to a minimum. Please use the bathroom before the start of your shift if possible. You should take time before or after your shift to look around the event, to eat lunch etc. If you are working 8 or more hours in a row, ask your Zone Leader (supervisor) for the best time to take a break. He or she will arrange for someone to cover your role for a short period while you take your break.

Where do I collect the gift offered for those working more than one shift?

At the end of your last shift, please visit the Volunteer Check-in Desk to request your free gift.

Since all the food is donated, can I help myself to food at the event?

All the food at Vegfest is donated to the non-profit Vegetarians of Washington for their use during and after the event. This does not mean that it is freely available to volunteers to take home. You can sample foods from booths during breaks and before or after your shift, just like any other attendee. You may also buy left-over food during the sale held on Sunday at 5:30pm and place it in the Volunteer Check-in area (labeled with your name) for collection at the end of your shift. You may not take any whole packets or cases of food home without paying for them. Unused non-perishable foods are needed for use by Vegetarians of Washington for future events. Remaining perishable foods are donated to other non-profits for the homeless for example.

Will there be somewhere to leave my stuff?

We have very limited space in the volunteer area, so please bring as few belongings as possible. Most volunteers will need to take their coats with them and store them under or near their table. Volunteers with roles involving moving around may leave coats in the volunteer area. Volunteers must keep track of their own purses or other valuables.

Do you have directions/map to the Seattle Center?

The Exhibition Hall is on Mercer Street, next to the McCaw Hall and beneath the Pacific Northwest Ballet. In the Seattle Center grounds, it is the north side of the big fountain. Please see our Vegfest Location page for a Seattle Center Map and links to directions and transportation options.

Where can I park?

The closest parking lot is the multi-story lot between Mercer and Roy St. The Fifth Ave parking lot on the corner of 5th Ave and Harrison St is a short walk away. (See the Vegfest Location page).

What public transportation options are available?

The Seattle Center is well served by public transportation. See the Seattle Center's website for transportation options.

Will Vegetarians of Washington cover my expenses (like parking)?

Sorry, we are a non-profit organization and can't afford to do that. We encourage the use of public transport and carpooling to minimize expenses.

Can I volunteer for the same shift as my friend(s)?

Yes, we do all we can to schedule you for the same shift as your friend(s) if you request to do so. However, we cannot guarantee that you will actually be working together during your shift, since there are many different needs which need to be considered in assigning volunteers to specific roles.

I did the orientation last year. Do I need to do it again this year?

Yes. While much of the orientation may be similar to last year, we are continually improving our procedures, so we’d like everyone to be oriented every year.

Is there a dress code?

Every volunteer will receive a T-shirt to wear during their shift(s) - it helps us identify the volunteers from the general public during the event. We don't have a specific dress code, but anyone who is going to be seen by the public should look clean and presentable - no torn or dirty clothes. Long hair must be tied back if preparing or serving food. Those who will be selling tickets or door monitors will need warm clothing underneath their T-shirts, since it can be cold in March, and the doors will probably be open for much of the time.

I'm a food demonstrator. Do I need a food handler's license?

No. volunteers do not need a license. Our orientation will cover what you need to know in order to perform your assigned task. A licensed person will be on the premises to supervise. Please ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly and put on gloves before touching any food.

Is there childcare available?

Sorry, but we are unable to provide childcare. No children are permitted behind booths. If you need to bring children with you, the best role for you is Outdoor Advertising (see below).

What role can kids do?

No children under 18 may handle money. Children aged 15-18 can do food demonstrating, table stocking and greeting. Children under 15, who are supervised by parents, can walk around the Seattle Center grounds with signs & flyers (outdoor advertising) directing visitors to come inside and taste the vegetarian food.

I am volunteering on Friday, in the afternoon, or all day Sunday. Can I attend Vegfest on a different day or in the morning before my shift?

Yes. Enter through the volunteer check-in area to the right of the ticket booths. Report directly to the volunteer table, where you will be given a free ticket. You will still need to check-in before your shift as previously requested.

I'm a vegan. Will I be assigned to a vegan food prep and/or food demo?

The vast majority of the food at Vegfest is vegan. Please inform the volunteer coordinator or zone leader assigning you to a table if you prefer to serve only vegan foods, and they will ensure that you do not have to serve products containing dairy or eggs.

I need to work at least 5 hours to fulfill a volunteer requirement, and my shift is 4 hours. What should I do?

We always have jobs for you to do! Come an hour before your shift is supposed to start or stay an hour late. Just keep our volunteer coordinators informed as to when you are available, and they’ll find an extra hour’s work for you. Check back in at the Volunteer Check-in table when you are ready to leave if you need a signature to show how many hours you worked.