Waterford - Every August, residents and those from surrounding communities await the start of Waterford Week, an event that has served as a summer highlight for 36 years.
This year, the Waterford Ball is making a comeback, something the Waterford Week Committee hopes will once again become an event mainstay.
This year's celebration kicks off Wednesday with the variety show, something organizer Sherry Stidfole has proudly taken ownership of.
When she asked to help the town's senior citizens with the logistics of the show a few years ago, she never thought she would become this involved.
"It wasn't always my baby, but now it is." Stidfole said last week. "I like to have things that make people chuckle and allow the audience to sing along. Now, planning the show is like second nature."
While Stidfole is the event's point person, she knows she couldn't pull it off without a few helping hands. She's got a friend of hers helping to emcee the event, help with writing scripts, help with the sound, help with stage management and more.
"It's really not a one-man job at all," she said. "We start meeting in September to start thinking and share our notes for improvement for the next year."
When Waterford Week wraps up with the ball on Aug. 18, there are only a few weeks that pass without working on the lineup. It all swings back into gear in early September for the next year.
This year's 26-member committee, which member Jim Radack described as "anyone who wants to show up," is responsible for the ins and outs of the entire event.
From securing the proper insurance coverage for the town to coordinating where the hundreds of water bottles will be distributed along the race course takes manpower, something the committee desperately needs in order to pull off a successful event.
At the committee's last meeting before the kickoff members gave brief updates on the status of their event. As predicted, there were still things up in the air.
The road signs weren't printed. The variety show still needed a title. Tickets to the ball hadn't been sold. But the event's secretary, Cathy Newlin, was cool as a cucumber.
"Sometimes it can be nerve-racking, but I'm in the mindset that you kind of go with the flow. I don't panic much," Newlin said on Monday. "It can all be fixed."
It will all get done, with a little help from their friends.
"The fun of the volunteerism has a lot to do with a former chairman of the committee, Paul Eccard. His energy and excitement and involvement has inspired me to continue for as long as I have," Radack said last week. "We certainly have an ongoing need for new volunteers with some time. Everyone is welcome. We need help in recognizing that this isn't just an event that is planned a few weeks in advance."
Radack has been a member of the Waterford Week Committee for 15 years and had served as chairman for 10 years up until last year.
While he looks forward to Saturday's family evening at the beach and the parade, he can't help but long for the week's longest-running events that haven't been able to happen for two years.
Ever since the construction of the new high school began, the grounds have been off limits. That has meant going without the craft show, flea market and play held inside the auditorium.
"All of the activities at the high school campus on Saturday and Sunday were the most fun for me. Each of them a very big part of Waterford," Radack said.
He said the play will not be able to resume until 2014 and the craft show and the flea market until 2013.
Radack's friend, fellow Lions Club member and committee member Bob Buttinger, is a familiar face when it comes to Waterford Week.
Since 1987, the 88-year-old has volunteered his time to the committee, simply because he enjoys it. He says this year's event will be his last as a volunteer.
"It's something everyone looks forward to. It's a rewarding experience," Buttinger said last week. "It's beneficial to the town and we try to keep active in planning it for all members of the community, young and old alike."