During this past weekend, you may have noticed three graphically attractive vans moving throughout Idyllwild. Riverside County’s Economic Development Agency’s MARS Program (Mobile Activities Recreation Services) provided shuttle service for this year’s Lemon Lily Festival to help ease both traffic and parking throughout town.

As a volunteer and ambassador for the festival, I had the sincere pleasure of working all day Saturday and Sunday with the pleasant, experienced drivers. While the drivers were initially unfamiliar with Idyllwild, they quickly got their bearings as they shuttled festival attendees all over town, up to Fern Valley for the private residence, Idyllwild Garden Club showing of lemon lilies, out to the Nature Center and back to the center of town.

Having been on shuttles elsewhere for different events, what amazed me about these drivers was how warm and friendly they were to our visitors. They would introduce themselves to each load of riders, really acting more as “tour guides” than “shuttle drivers.”

Many times when we opened the van at one of the stops for folks to exit, visitors would be laughing and having a great time, having embarked on their ride as strangers.

Over the weekend, between trips, we got a little more acquainted with these friendly young ladies only to learn this was not their “normal routine.” You sure wouldn’t have known that.

They are generally transporting children to and from recreational events and field trips throughout Riverside County and Southern California. They also visit different parks to interact and play with county children. One of the drivers even showed us a photo from her cell phone of the giant, inflatable movie screen they use for impromptu movie viewing.

Knowing that, as a community, Idyllwild is about to go through a change with our Town Hall recreation program, it was encouraging to experience some of what the county currently has to offer.

Bryan Tallent
The Spruce Moose & Lemon Lily Festival Volunteer