January 2011 Group Spotlight - WCC Theatre Group
Flattop, the lovable raccoon who is the mascot of MerleFest, can be seen walking around the campus of Wilkes Community College during the festival. Or maybe you have seen him out in the community (at schools, civic group meetings, etc.) promoting the event that is the college’s biggest fundraiser. Now we don’t mean to shatter any illusions—but inside that furry costume is a student. It could be any one of the students in the Wilkes Community College Theatre group who volunteer as the beloved talisman of MerleFest.
Drama Instructor and producer/director David Reynolds assigns students to wear the suit as well personnel to accompany Flattop. “They love meeting the children. Various students have graduated or attend other colleges and wish to return to be Flattop and participate—a challenge to be in the suit on hot days.”
The group also offers its services at concession sales and other booths. Funds paid to the students for their work assists the theater
program in a variety of ways—support of classes and production projects, procurement of extra equipment and supplies, and tuition assistance for some students. Monies also go toward some travel expenses for the group’s annual trip to New York City. Mr. Reynolds says that students gain personally from their volunteer experiences. “Students get a feel for the unique quality of the event—its reputation is known nationally. They also develop a sense of camaraderie as they enjoy working in a different capacity with fellow students.” He continues, “We are one of the many groups that make the event quite special to attendees who travel far to participate.”
The WCC Theatre group is a special part of the MerleFest experience. So, in April look for Flattop and have your photo made with him—a great festival memento!