Entertainers’ Home away from Home

EJ King

Those planning to attend HerrinFesta every year, anxiously await the Entertainment announcement, but probably give not a thought to what’s involved in getting these acts to agree to play at our event. Besides the booking process necessary to procure these busy entertainers, there is also the matter of taking care of them once they arrive in Herrin. That important job goes to E. J. King, Hospitality Director, and her company of volunteers, whose sole responsibility is welcoming not only the musicians, but their crews as well.

E. J. King first began working in this capacity in 1996. To perform her endless duties, she was provided with a small tent, a picnic table, a soda machine, and two refrigerators. From these humble beginnings, an enterprise has grown to include facilities that allow her to cater to and pamper her guests with delicious meals, massages, completely equipped dressing rooms, and anything else they need to make their stay in Herrin a delightful experience.

E. J. utilizes her employees from E. J.’s Day Spa, friends, and family members to make sure that no need goes unmet. You will see them in the days before HerrinFesta begins, putting the finishing touches on this “home away from home” for the entertainers. First, the Hospitality Tent must be erected, then they fill it with supplies, food, and that oh-so-important massage table. Many hours are spent getting everything just right. The whole process has grown and improved, and E. J. says that every entertainer who has come through here comments on the wonderful facilities and people provided to ensure their comfort. Many have said they haven’t had better treatment even at the much larger city venues. To make certain that everything goes off without a hitch, E. J. and her family bring their camper to the grounds and set it up behind the stage, so they can be available around the clock for whatever is needed.

E. J. wouldn’t be able to achieve all this without her gang of volunteers – Colleen Mansinko, Darlene Reagan, and Rachel Spolarich, and sons Shaun and Kyle Essick, and daughter Michelle Harms. This selfless group of volunteers gives so much of their own time and energy to work behind the scenes, adding to the success of HerrinFesta without any thought to recognition or compensation. Let’s give a hand to the Hospitality Committee, and keep their hard work in mind as you enjoy HerrinFesta’s great lineup of entertainment this year!