fireIt seems like a lot of these event wrap up pieces start the same way… “exclamation points! Incredible event!! Volunteers, vendors, speakers, new friends, old faces!!!!!” and I hate to follow the crowd.

This was one of the most emotionally intense weeks of my life. Maybe it’s because I’m a breastfeeding mom and I’m physiologically at peak hormones, or maybe it’s because I switched to an all-natural lavender deodorant, but what a week. There are too many people to thank in a single blog post, too many literary hugs to give, too many eyes to look into, tearfully and truthfully, and say that because of you, this week will go down as a spectacular PorcFest.

The Paxton Family

The Paxton Family

Rodger and Jess Paxton are absolute rock stars. They were up first, and asleep last. They were always ready to take on new challenges, and geek out over the incredible line-up of speakers that our team worked hard to bring to the event. (Seriously, Rodger was like a kid in a candy shop.) Especially impressive was their ability to run the festival while also enjoying it with their two sons.

Our event team was on point this year. Fr33 Aid and Rangers handled all the health and safety issues with cool heads and very little sleep. Our attendees probably knew about *some* of the crises, but hardly anybody knows about *all* of the crises, so that’s a job well done. When you bring over 1,100 people together to address complicated issues, there are bound to be complications, and the team worked hard to make this event as wonderful as it was.

Registration was efficient and as smooth as the dulcet tones of a basset hound named Kasey. PorcuPints were breakout stars, and VIP was the place to be with continental breakfast, catered dinners, and chilled champagne on hand all week long. Our marketing maven was offsite but online, bringing a taste of PorcFest to the rest of the world, and our social media expert tweeted with the best of ’em (and streamed some sweet interviews).

PorcFest XV

It is so incredible to build the structure that allows for the spontaneous voluntarism that happens at PorcFest. This year, we saw that in action at Soap Box Idol, when Dash matched a charitable auction led by our very own Event Consultant Christine Butler. Together, they raised over $600 towards Free Ross in an impromptu bidding war on some limited edition PorcFest merchandise. [See Lyn interviewed at PorcFest.]

The schedule was packed with liberty legends. David Friedman, Michael Huemer, Jeffrey Tucker, Will Ruger, Derrick Slopey, Naomi Brockwell, Kat Murti, Stephanie Murphy, Johnny Adams, Paige Peterson, Bruce Fenton, Mark Edge, Tone Veys. I mean, come on. Only at PorcFest is Benn Swann followed by Carey Wedler, followed by Eric July, followed by Patrick Byrne. That’s like five hours of squeee just on Saturday. Major shout outs to the Pavilion team who worked themselves sick (literally) and brought on some amazing speakers.

The team learned a lot this year about conflict resolution, de-escalation techniques, and some important tools that we could be using to engage attendees in the future. That’s for another post.

All in all, there aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to express my appreciation for this team, this community, and for everyone who traveled to join in the magic of PorcFest XV.

Rachel is the Interim Executive Director of the Free State Project. She has an MBA and is experienced in fundraising, marketing, and event production.