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North Plains Volunteer Spotlight: Patti Burns

volunteer_patti_burnsPatti Burns, the current Vice President of the North Plain Events Association, has strong roots in the North Plains area and for decades has volunteered to make the North Plains Community a better place.

She and her family started visiting the area yearly 40 years ago to visit Loch Lolly Christmas Forest. Then in 1986, when her in-laws purchased Loch Lolly, she began working with them. In 2002, she and her husband moved to the farm and took over operations. Shortly after, Patti began a decades-long dedication to volunteering and making a long and growing list of special community events happen here - including the North Plains Elephant Garlic Festival, the Jingle Parade, the Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks, a city-wide clean-up day, and many more.

Since getting her start helping out at the 2003 elephant garlic festival, Patti has almost continually been the coordinator of this highly successful community event - first with the North Plains Chamber and now since 2012 with the North Plains Events Association. Her long list of volunteer impacts also include:

  • City of North Plains Parks & Recreation Board (2015 to present) 
  • Chair of the North Plains Senior Center (2014 to present)
  • Senior Plaza Board of Directors (2013 to present)
  • Friends of North Plains Library (2006 to 2015), and coordinator of the Library groundbreaking ceremony in 2005 and grand opening in 2006
  • Coordinator of the 2010 City of North Plains Centennial Celebration
And this doesn’t include all the hours she dedicates to her family business, Loch Lolly Christmas Forest, which has branched out to host weddings and other special events year-round.

“It’s hard work, but it’s fun and rewarding getting to know people in North Plains, getting more people involved, and contributing to the sense of community here,” said Patti.

While she enthusiastically thanks community volunteers and groups such as the Knights of Pythias and the North Plains Christian Church without whose help and support events like the garlic festival would not be possible, she also admits that as North Plains has grown in population, it seems to be harder to get people to volunteer. She encourages people to start small. 

“These events take a lot of work, so even an hour or two of help is immensely helpful and can help you feel more connected and bring a sense of satisfaction and appreciation about doing something good for your community,” said Patti. “I started out by going to the elephant garlic festival in 2003 and volunteering for a bit and just kept going!”