Tucson Meet Yourself typically has about 500 volunteers running the festival, but this year organizers say they are short of help.

Usually by September, at least 300 volunteers have signed up for the folk-life festival, but as of Wednesday there were just 50 people signed up, said Billy Hazra, a volunteer outreach coordinator with Tucson Meet Yourself.

“We need volunteers because we are a non-profit and we want to keep it free,” he said. “Without the volunteers, we can’t run the festival.”

He wasn't sure why there is a shortage of volunteers, but said it's reached the point of "dire need."

The festival features dance, arts, culture and food from more than 60 ethnic and occupational groups in the Tucson area. For many, the food stands are the main attraction, Harza said. That's led to a community nickname for the festival.

“It’s also called Tucson Eat Yourself," he said. "There’s quite a lot of food, and people really like it.”