Gourmet Chicago – My volunteer experience Part One!

I have so many pictures I’ll spread them out over a few posts! First of all, what a great day I had today! I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer for one of the biggest food and wine events of the year, Gourmet Chicago at Millennium Park, sponsored by Bon Appetit!

I really had no idea what they were going to have me do, all I knew was that I would be on the “Great Lawn” which was cool because that’s where all the tents were!

Gourmet Chicago banner

I checked into the volunteer station and a few minutes later a bunch of us were escorted to where we would be working for our shift. I was working from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

This is where I started to work

There were long rows of winery’s and hard liquor tables and me and 3 other people were told to go over to that area and see what people needed. I walked up to a woman who was setting up her station and asked her if I could help and she said “Can you cut limes?” Umm….yes I can!! This was the name of that company:

I don't even know how to pronounce this!

Limes cut? Check!

All the limes I cut, I cut enough limes to fill 4 of these containers!

The people running the event were super vague about what the volunteers would actually be doing, so after the limes, I just walked around to different tents and asked if I could help. I got sample glasses for one winery, ice for another tent, and then came back to the wine area I originally was helping at. The 3 other women hadn’t done anything yet, I think they were waiting to be told what to do instead of being more proactive like I was. So, I had to use the bathroom and on my way, I ran into a tent for BLUE MOON BEER! . I saw a woman who was unpacking little plastic beer glasses that were going to be used as samples and asked her if she needed help, she immediately said yes!!

So when I came back from the bathroom, I must have unpacked about 20 boxes of these little glasses that looked like this:

Aren't they cute?

After we unpacked all the glasses, the event planner for Blue Moon was off to take care of other things. They had 2 artists in the tent who had a big canvas and people could take turns helping to paint the canvas.

Guests could paint on the canvas!

So when the doors opened to the public at noon, I still was in the Blue Moon tent and it was apparent this was going to be a popular tent. I think it was the only tent that had beer. So the master brewer was pouring beer and getting backed up, so I told him I used to bartend a hundred years ago, would he like me to help him pour. He said “YES!”, so I got behind the table and started pouring beer. They had their seasonal Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale as well as their Belgian White beer. So for the next 2 1/2 hours I poured beer and talked to the people, and for a while I was the only one there and people were asking me all sorts of things about the beer and I just repeated what the brewmaster was telling people, it was so much fun!

Some ingredients of the beer

On the table they had bowls of what hops looked like and wheat, ground coriander, and ground orange peels.

So, after my shift, I walked around for a bit, and then came home and tomorrow I get to go back and I can’t wait to see what I’ll be doing tomorrow. I really think I made the most of my experience so far!

So come back again for another update and more pics, including some of the fabulous food that was there!


  1. Biz says:

    I love Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale – I actually have some in my fridge right now!

    Did you get to try any food??

  2. How fun! I wish I’d answered the ad for volunteers when I saw it… both my sister and her boyfriend were working at the event today too at the Old Town Social booth…

  3. How fun…glad it was such a nice day, glad you had a good assignment

  4. Jennifer says:

    The only thing I tried was a little baby burger! But when I go back tomorrow, I’ll try more things.

  5. Shelley B says:

    Sounds like fun – and good on ya for being proactive and getting into the swing of volunteering!

  6. Kelly says:

    Ahh! I’m jealous! I wish I would have known they were calling for volunteers! Next year – remind me, and maybe we can go down there together 🙂

  7. Roz says:

    How AWESOME!!! Looks like a great day, event wise and weather wise!! Can’t wait for further updates!

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