Dublin Villager

Dublin Irish Festival

Dedicated volunteer this year's honorary chairman

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Honorary Chairman Frank Slavik is hoping to get a chance to relax and take in everything the Dublin Irish Festival has to offer.

Slavik is the latest to receive the honor that recognizes people who have made great contributions to the annual festival.

The Tim Horton's franchisee was surprised by the honor, but has put in a lot of time at the festival.

"I just can't tell you how honored I am," Slavik said adding he's been happy to see volunteers honored over the past few years.

"A couple of years ago they selected Leslie and Jim Finn and I was excited because they put their heart and soul into the festival ... . It did my heart good to see that honor," he said.

"It really tells me they care about the volunteers and they care about the people that are adding value to the festival.

"We do it because we love it, but it's nice that folks like me can be honored for it."

Slavik, who lives in Galloway with his wife, Michelle, got involved with the Dublin Irish Festival after he took over the Avery Road Tim Horton's.

"For 14 years now we've been feeding volunteers that work the festival on Friday night, all day Saturday and all day Sunday, then expanded to feeding entertainers, feeding other groups and bringing coffee to the Emerald Club," he said.

"On a personal level I used to volunteer on the hospitality committee.

"I worked with entertainers at one point and I worked with the Emerald Club hosting and cleaning, whatever needed to be done."

Slavik's festival experience is so grounded in volunteering his favorite part is seeing the other volunteers each year.

"I really look forward to the people more than anything," he said.

"The nature of the volunteer stuff we do and sponsorship has never really given me a chance to sit down and listen to the music," he said.

"I try to make it through the grounds once a weekend every year."

The role of honorary chairman will give Slavik a more leisurely festival experience.

Thursday, Aug. 1, he will kick off the 5K and DubCrawl, something he's never been to before.

"I've never attended, probably just in anticipation of the big weekend," he said.

And as honorary chairman, Slavik will also open the festival Aug. 2 and close it Aug. 4, judge a few contests and throw the first dart in the darts competition.

"I'm really looking forward to listening to some music," Slavik said.

"I really enjoy Irish music and I really haven't had an opportunity to sit down and listen to a set from an artist," he said, adding he saw Natalie MacMaster at a conference and plans to take in one of her performances.

"I haven't gotten to see the kids do Irish dancing yet," Slavik said.

"I'm looking forward to that as well.

"I'm not a big beer drinker, but I'll get to drink a beer, too."

Whereas Slavik is looking forward to discovering new festival activities with his title, he plans to return to his normal routine next year.

"Next year, it'll be back to work," he said.

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