Monday, August 22, 2016

Planning a BBQ Festival

Have you ever planned a birthday party before? Well planning a festival is nothing like it. Sure you invite guests and there is food. But at this party everyone is invited and you need more than cake and ice cream. Planning a festival takes an abundant amount of time, energy and help!  Here at the GCCVB we are always working on some type of event, but a festival is being worked on all year round.

The Gallia County BBQ Festival was brought to life by Executive Assistant Karen McCarty, who I consider my events mentor. The GCBBQ is a fundraiser for the GCCVB and this year will be the third BBQ festival we have hosted. The great thing about annual events is that it gives us the opportunity to make it better than the last one.

In my opinion our festival comes down to 4 key elements; Teams for the competition, volunteers, a good marketing strategy and sponsors. Without one of these elements our festival is a car with no engine.

  • Teams: We invite teams from all around to participate in the competition. Our teams compete for several awards and even prize money. Teams arrive the day before the competition with their cookers and work into the night perfecting their meat. It is their meat that can be purchased at the festival (beginning at 1 p.m.) and voted on for the people's choice award.

  • Volunteers: These folks are such an enormous asset to our festival, with out their help it would only be Karen, Amanda, Lori, and myself. Therefore it is critical that we are able to receive the aid of community members. The GCCVB Board and Advisory Committee are able to help but even with their help it isn't always enough. So those who assist us are always so deeply appreciated by us.

  • Marketing: We live in a small community where everyone knows everyone, so shouldn't everyone know what is going on? Nope. If your event if open to everyone, then that makes your marketing efforts multiplied. Just because you share your event on Facebook doesn't mean it will be read by all. It is important to use different avenues to get the word out, posters, attending smaller events, walking into businesses and actually talking with people.

  • Sponsors: As I mentioned above each year we work hard to make the next festival better than the last, which usually means it is bigger and more expensive. As a non-profit organization we look to sponsorships to help us make those upgrades possible. Luckily we live in a FANTASTIC community with businesses and individuals who care about the success of this event and others like it. But know that it is more than just tossing money at something so you can have your name on a poster, it is called community involvement. Our sponsors really step up to the plate, they attend the event and even offer to help with much more. I am honestly blown away by them.
This is my way of saying thank you! To the teams thank you for participating, to the volunteers thank you for your time, to the person who (happily) took my flyer or shared our event thank you and thank you to our amazing sponsors.

Want to continue following our journey to the festival? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@galliabbqfest)

And as always thanks for reading!

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