|Tim Reimensnyder, self portrait|
By Betsy Garrold
For Tim Reimensnyder, volunteer coordinator for the Crafts Area of the Common Ground Country Fair (CGCF), the Fair is a family affair. Tim and his wife, Marie, have been selling T-shirts at the Fair for more than 20 years. He got his first taste of volunteering at the Fair when he helped is brother-in-law, Steve Plumb, for several years pick up “endless lengths” of electrical cord during Fair cleanup days.
When Lesley Burhoe started looking for someone to take over as Crafts Area coordinator, she first asked Marie, but Tim, who was looking for a way to become more involved to “give back to the Fair for what it has given my family over the years,” decided to take on the challenge. Since then he and Marie have organized the jury process for the more than 160 applicants for approximately 90 slots each year. Tim credits his sisters’ help for keeping the Craft Area humming along during the three days of the Fair.
He believes in the value of having someone “within the craft community” coordinate this thriving part of Common Ground. He uses his time at other craft shows throughout the summer to discover new vendors for CGCF and do some soft-sell recruiting. He says he sees the Fair as one of Maine’s best craft shows now. The potential big rewards of the venue help offset the cost. He views the jurying process as positive for everyone. Limiting the number of vendors in any one category is one of the hardest parts of the job – the unpaid, volunteer job, he points out.
Tim has time to take on this challenging position because he is, in his own words, not fully employed since his cancer diagnosis in 2010. He had agreed to take on the role the year before he was diagnosed with a type of cancer that is treated with low-dose, ongoing chemotherapy. Quarterly CT scans monitor his progress. He says the cancer was a wakeup call that took him back to his art. (Google “Tim Reimensnyder” to find his website, blog and Facebook page.)
April Boucher, Fair director, says,” Tim is an incredibly dedicated and thoughtful volunteer. He fosters one of the most well respected craft shows in the Northeast and enables fairgoer access to some of the finest artisans in Maine. His thoughtfulness and hard work have resulted in an area coordinated with the highest integrity. I am exceedingly thankful for Tim’s continued efforts in organizing a complex area and jury process that receives more than 160 applications annually. It is an enormous task that he handles well.”
As this article was going to press, Tim emailed with the great news that his most recent scan showed no evidence of a suspected tumor recurrence. He said at the end of his email, “smiley face.” We couldn’t agree more!