After months of planning, the BBQ contest I organized on Cape Cod has come and gone. Overall, the event was a success in my eyes, but there is plenty of room for improvement on my end as the organizer. However, I'm really happy overall, and the contest was wwell received by most of the cooking teams.
The decision to try and organize this contest really came last summer. The previous organizer had decided not to have the event, but had booked the venue, and refused to release the date so someone else could continue the long running contest. Previously known as the Peter's Pond Rib and Brisket Festival, this was one of the original BBQ events in New England. The demise of this contest was a real bummer for many cooking teams.
So, I thought this might be a good chance for me to try my hand as an organizer. The key for me was really just to have it be a BBQ contest. I had no interest in trying to land bands, face painters, craft vendors etc. I knew that would be an impossible thing to organize from 200 miles away. So I just focused on the contest.
The contest attracted 33 teams, mostly from New England, but teams from Maryland, Florida, New Jersey and Long Island also made the trip. The unique thing about this contest was that there were RV spots available for teams. I thought as a cooker myself to have access to their own water, electric, sewer and cable TV hookups would be nice, and the teams that took those spots thought it was great.
My biggest mistake was not having enough portable toilets, and mismanaging them. They had already been placed when I arrived Friday, and they were not where I wanted them to be. Instead of being together in between the contest area and the judging area, one was right on top of the contest area and the other a far walk to the other side of the judging tent. Because of this, one got major use and the other just sat there for the most part. There are real bathrooms, but a looong walk away. Next year, this situation will be rectified.
Also, I will be working with the manager at Peter's Pond on expanding the event so they can bring in more public. There is so much room to grow this event. But to me, the key will be the cook-off. Hopefully by raising the scope of the event, we can bring in some sponsors to drive up the prize pool.
Overall, this was a great experience. I tremendous amount of work and no financial gain, but I think the team who attended really appreciated the return of this contest, had a great time and will certainly return in 2011!