Barbecue ( Discuss barbecue and grilling--southern style "low and slow" smoking of ribs, shoulders and briskets, as well as direct heat grilling of everything from burgers to salmon to vegetables.

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Old 02-10-2003, 12:23 PM
John D
Posts: n/a
Default How to organize a food festival in a town of 5,000 people

It looks like my last event this year is in "Balls Falls Conservation park"
for the Balls Falls Thanksgiving Craft show. You got to see this show - 5
food vendors for between 20 - 30,000 people ;-) The show is open from 10 AM
to 5 PM Thursday thru Monday, and for 6 hours each day I will have a 50 - 70
foot lineup (thats with 10 people working ) , and hat lineup lasts for the
full 6 hours ))))))

Presently I am waiting for a delivery of 400 pounds of pork butt, and about
500 pounds of sides. They were supposed to be here on Teusday - and I am
getting nervous. (Supply has been a big problem this year - I have been
shorted on at least 50% of my orders this year)

The reason for the nervousness - I have called all of the packing houses,
and not one has any extra butts for this week or next, and I will not have
enough pulled pork to get through the 4 days of the show. (my current supply
will last until Sunday night - leaving me high and dry for Monday)

Ribs are not a problem, I can cook at the event, and three of my suppliers
tell me they will definatly have some teusday of next week. (But that is
what they said last week as well)

John D
What the hell - if they squack, just Q'em (comment from one food vendor
regarding his in-laws at last weeks show)

"butch burton" wrote in message
John-thanks a bunch-you obviously know a great deal about this
endeavor. Will contact you later-now for the important-where are your
Q events occuring-assume since you are N of 49th that means maple leaf


"John D" wrote in message

You are looking for a show promoter, or an event organizer. That is what

do in the winter - the summer it is just Q Q Q ;-)

Now up here in the civilized land north of the 49th, there are many

programs for "cultural" or "civic" development (read waste of tax

I am sure that there is something similare down south.

The first thing you need to do though is to identify your market. Is it
horizontal (wide general appeal), or is it vertical (very specific
demographic target)

The second thing is to identify and quantify the desired results.

exposure for downtown core? Increase exposure for busines? A venue for
talented local musians? put money in your pocket? Who will buy into the

The most important thing is the third step - How to marry the first step

the second - and promote it successfully.

You mention a food festival. Who is it you want to reach and why? Is it

profit, or non-profit? Are you looking to increase exposure of local
resturants and food joints? or are you looking for a community festival

has food as a primary component or feature?

The fourth thing that you will need is resources. While this include

you will find that man hours will quickly become far scarcer than $$$.

When it comes to advertizing, you will need shinny shoes to tapdance

and get all of the "free" PSA's {Public Service Announcments). It is
generally easier to affiliate yourself with a known and respected

charity or
not-for-profit group in your area to facilitate this. This will

cost you a guarenteed donation, or the rights to a segment of the event
(usually the drinks - avoid this if at all possible)

Radio stations will offer "sponsorship" for title rights. (ie - CKPC BBQ
championships) - Avoid this - it limits your options, and generally the

a discount on ad-rates in return (which you can get anyway by playing

station off against another). Rather, try and get the Radio stations to
sponsor a specific act Friday night or Sat., and include in your print

"Soand So brought to you by CKPC" and include logo. This way, you have

nights of primary acts to "sponsor off", increasing your cash flow.

TV will not respect you for your first two or three years - so don't

(are too much at the start anyway's)

Don't forget to get in touch with local politicians - get the week

"whatever BBQ week" or some such - you will be amazed at the amount of

press you can get.

Now from experience, I can tell you that to get the first event off of

ground for a "for profit" event, you are looking at abount 18 months of

(depending on size of course) This includes market research, identiying
potential vendors, pricing out ad rates, site location and rental,
insurance, accessing Gov't programs, visiting other events of a similar
nature ( and taking notes on what works and doesn't), identifying

needs, dealing with Gov't with regards to street closures or utilizing
public parking, setting up waste water and grease contracts - and of

the lovely johnny on the spots.

Now, if all of this is done - then the real work starts - the local

board of
health will need to be involved. You will need to ensure that all of the
vendors that you have lined up for food have proper insureanc (listing

the city, and the parks commision as co-insured), have proper sanitary
equipment, and are in compliance with all local by-laws and licences.

I have skipped much in this post - and glossed over much more. It is a

time job for one or two people to get an event off of the ground. But if

are succsessful, you will notice that it will tsake less and less effort

the event grows and the reputation of the event expands.Realistically,

will need a good war chest to get an event off of the ground (unless you

it non-profit as a community event). A for profit event will likey loose
money, or break even for the first three years. Then it will grow - and

fast if you have good dates, good venues, good parking, good weather,

good exhibitors

I just finished working a small festival called Canal Days near Fort

Population of the town was about 16,000. The event attracted about

people. The size of the town is irrelevant - it is the number of people
within 3 hours of the event that matters (people will travel up to 2 to

1/2 hours for certain events)

The most important thing to remember is not to believe what any show
promoter says - we are all trying to protect our markets ;-)

John D
Two more events to go - then I am done for this year (pushing 4000

pounds of
pulled pork and approaching 3900 rack of ribs - I don't think I can eat
either of them any more)

"butch burton" wrote in message
Anyone know of any web sites having a discussion of or how to organize
a food festival. All of the basic steps including how to get the
people together, promote and plan the event. Want to make it wider
than BBQ-attended a KCBS event in Madison WI and while that was fun-it
was really more about the contest than people attending the event.
Also the space required for the contestants would keep the activity
from our downtown parks and it is the downtown area we want to get the
people to visit.


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Old 02-10-2003, 12:25 PM
John D
Posts: n/a
Default How to organize a food festival in a town of 5,000 people

Shhesh, I forgot about those posts - it's amazing what can be found just
lying around in cyberspace - hope my in-laws don't learn about google

John D
Having fun in the smoke, but looking forward to winter

"Cuchulain Libby" wrote in message
. ..

butch burton wrote:
John-thanks a bunch-you obviously know a great deal about this
endeavor. Will contact you later-now for the important-where are your
Q events occuring-assume since you are N of 49th that means maple leaf

And to think sniff John's first post just a few short years ago wiping

tear was about getting a Klose shipped to Canada. That story is worth a
re-post; cost him almost as much to ship it as build it. Compared to John,
we're all slackers as far as the speed of transition from bbq-slut to
bbq-whore. Bugg, you need to call him, PING him for his phone number,
although he doesn't cook retail he can tell you shitloads about whoring.
Plus he's a great guy and funny as hell.
Found it but looking at some of John's old posts, this one is probably
(googled 'john d' and 'klose')

[Begin re-post:]

OK, I did it - I ordered the Klose

I talked to the folks at Klose, and they not only knew what they were
talking about, they made me feel that they knew what they where talking
about!!!!! (pretty impressive .... one of my business is sales oriented
....... I know the crap series and the crud series ... and these people
talked fact.... no fiction)

I went for the backyard chef with the log starter and the charcoal grate

the main chamber (their recommendation). cost was something like $1300. I
was interested in the gas element for the main smoke chamber, but the

me out of it (that's not real Q'ing !!!!). I thought it would be

in the winters up here, but if it's too cold to Q, I really should just

the oven as opposed to using gas (my wife's comment - I really do Love


The shipping costs are kind of funny though. To ship to Toronto, Canada is
around $650.00, but around $1,000.00 to ship to Hamilton, Ontario (45

closer to the US border)

The only question that I have left is,...... should I go for the insulated
cooking chamber or not? It is an extra 1/4 inch plate around the cooking
chamber filled with 4" of insulation. Forgot to ask how much it will

but even if its another 3 - 400 it might be worth it ( it gets down to -20
to - 30 a fair bit in Jan. and Feb ..... but we need that to build our ice
rinks so that you yanks can't take that game from us like you did with
basketball, football, and baseball) (hey its a nationalistic thing ....
genetic kind of)

Thanks to all of you that told me off, gave advice, and just slightly
ridiculed me ....... I felt at home.

John D

Now that I have it, I got to learn how to use it - My 13 year old nephew
(you figure out the context)
John D wrote in message

I was going to build a double barrel smoker BBQ, but my wife (bless her

soul) said that she did not want to look at a bunch of oil barrels in

back yard. She suggested buying an offset smoker from a reputable
manufacturer, having it delivered, and making sure that it would be the

one I would need for the rest of my life.

After I got up off of the floor, I went back to my links ...... I liked

Tejas (the size and the cost) and due to the responses that I have seen

this group, the Klose.

The $1100 odd dollars American, I can handle, my problem is the shipping
costs. Why pay $1100 for a unit, just to spend $1083 to have it

Can't justify that (no matter how HARD I try)

To those canucks out there that have offset pits, how did you get them

the border, and were there any other surprise costs that I should know

I live in Hamilton, Ontario. - Maybe getting it shipped to Buffalo then
picking it up there (cost to ship to Buffalo - $260)

Both units are around 1000#, Any advice would be welcomed

John D

Never to old to learn to cook, Always too old to learn to wash windows.

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