Brown trout is volunteering time

ALPENA – The Zonta of Alpena Tri-County has been selling merchandise at the Brown Trout Festival for over 10 years, and every member volunteers their time to make sure someone is there.

“We just volunteer to sell T-shirts for the festival,” Zonta Treasurer Julie Rouleau said. “We sell T-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, youth T-shirts and baby clothes. We also have a variety of snacks to sell.”

The money all goes to the Brown Trout Festival, and they take out their profit when it’s finished. It is then distributed to all the different service organizations that volunteer and help with the festival.

“We’re just one of the service organizations that volunteer,” Rouleau said. “The Optimist Club, and Exchange Club, Kiwanis Club and different clubs all volunteer their time, so they might end up getting some funds back, and they can use that for their organization.”

According to the volunteer hours put in, the funds are distributed evenly.

“Our group puts in quite a few hours volunteering at the festival,” Rouleau said. “We have around 11 members, and we each put in around 18 hours apiece during the festival, and sometimes we ask our friends to help out or keep us company so we don’t have to work all those hours by ourselves.”

Zonta is made up of all professional women who have other jobs, and each one of the members takes time to volunteer and put in service hours selling merchandise during the festival.

“We sell a lot of T-shirts every year,” Rouleau said. “In warmer weather we sell more of the T-shirts and tank tops, and when it’s colder we sell a lot of the sweatshirts, so our sales depend on the weather sometimes. We have some people that come and get their Brown Trout T-shirt every year and have a collection. We’ve had some of those people come down already because this is the 40th anniversary of the festival.”

Rouleau said the club sells a pretty steady number of Brown Trout shirts every year, and hopes the good sales will continue throughout the rest of the festival. With each item that sells, that money has the potential to go to help local volunteer organizations.

“It’s a community thing,” Rouleau said. “The money goes back into the community to help with all the different non-profit organizations that volunteer their time and work to improve the community.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.