Sunday, July 14, 2013

BBQ Competition Hogging Up Festival Photos

hog it up bbq
Hog-It-Up's mascot on top their Stump's Smoker made for interesting photography.
The wife and I are finally recuperating from the Hogging Up BBQ Festival.  For a first year event I was pleased that I could do some good for the community and the charity organizations we were working with and for; and was able to bring some new folks into the town of Winchester for the weekend. This included 26 professional BBQ teams and over 40 judges , KCBS reps, and volunteers from all over the map.  Not to mention a lot of folks from out of town came to visit.

hogging up festival
Seeing the happiness on Pop Pop's Chicken and Pig's little girls' face made our day!

OVERALL:  With the community's help we were able to raise:

$2024 and counting for
$600 to the local Assembly of God Church
$400 for the  local Clear Brook Volunteer Fire Department
and give the beer/wine profits 100% to the Local Winchester Exchange Group.

It was a lot of work but we are please with the results.

KCBS COMPETITION:  We felt the KCBS competition went smoothly and we did the best we can to put on a first rate competition and please our competitors with a great styling breakfast, lunch, and awards ceremony.  We want to thank those competitors who gave back $420 in prizes which went to help  The wife had fun making the recycled bbq trophies with the recycle group kids back home.

hogging up festival
Some kiddie activities were good for parents, too!
THE FESTIVAL:  The festival itself was small for a first year festival, having limited kids activities which included mini gas powered cars, free Cornhole, and the Monster Truck rides.  You could also see an antique Fire truck and Blue Angels plane (won't be seeing these for awhile.) We were very happy Col. Blevins dropped off the plane, which was actually flown up til the 60's.

Blue Angels Plane
Me and Col. Steve Blevins, retired from the military discussing the sequester.
You could walk around Fri and Sat and see the different BBQ Teams cooking it up, and shop with crafters, artists, book authors, and bbq sauce gurus. The admission charge got you in to hear some top notch bands, but the public was under the impression they would be eating or tasting samples of BBQ.   Even the Winchester Star stated you could NOT taste the BBQ from the teams, so we are not sure where the confusion was on that.  Each festival is different. Some barbecue festivals have a people's choice but ours did not.  That all depends on where you go and the competition itself. In Frederick County, the health department would have inspected and made each team giving samples to pay $40 health permit. Many teams were not interested in doing this when in fact they had to be on a strict competition schedule.

Big Fat Daddys
You could eat a nice country style dinner with Big Fat Daddy's from BBQ Chicken and Rib Platters to regular fair food.
FOOD:  Big Fat Daddy's food was offered primarily to recoup the expenses it took to put on a festival without major monetary sponsors.  There were several other food vendors present offering ice cream and kettle corn.   It wouldn't have made sense to bring in a ton of food on a first year festival because then, no one makes any money.  We were able to donate over $1400 from our Food Stands towards CancerCare !

big fat daddys food
Thanks to my family and friends for busting their butts all week to help with our festival!

FRI NIGHT JUDGING:  Some VIPs were invited to judge on Friday night's Dessert and Anything Butt contest.  This included Deputy County Administrator Jay Tibbs and County Commissioner Ellen Murphy. 

Hog-it-Up BBQ won the dessert contest!! They are from Bluemont! Michelle & Mike Lackey

COMMUNITY SUPPORT:    It was hard getting support --for six months people ignored out press releases and one newspaper even trashed it.  We were tied up in county meetings for 9 months about a vendor permit that would have required our vendors to pay the county a $500 Itinerant Merchant fee for a liscense to sell items at our festival. We fought to get it changed, and well, it was changed to $30 but only 8 weeks before our festival.   We received a lot of product donations which was great, but having to fund the whole festival ourselves hurt. Some of that money was recouped with the food and vendor fees, but not all.  

Here we are on the News.

Ken Cuccinelli
Ken Cuccinelli stopped by on Saturday.
GOOD TURNOUT  For a first year festival we had a nice crowd on Friday but then a storm came and some of our vendor tents were wiped out. Ken Cuccinelli  (the Virginia Attorney General)  made it a stop on his tour and TV3 news showed up Saturday.  A magazine came and a few newspapers to interview us again.  We received positive kudos from local papers and media, but the hours were hard on our vendors. Another storm came in Saturday night and rains.  Sunday our vendors were tired and the crowd was light.

Hogging Up Food Big Fat Daddys

LEARNING EXPERIENCE  We know a first year festival is a learning experience. Some of the Festival goers were upset about paying $5 to get in on Friday or $8 Saturday.  Now keep in mind we were able to donate $1000 back to the Volunteer Fire Dept and Assembly of God Church!  I don't know where you can  go to hear great music like this for $5 or $8, and we had a full schedule of bands and great music on the website.

Here's me with Gary Smallwood, who rocked 'em on Sunday.

Many said they wanted to eat bbq samples from the teams (again, this is an issue with the health department we'd have to settle, and even if we did, we don't have the manpower to have someone run a sample tent.)   The beer had limited hours and that's because the Exchange Group could not commit to the hours of our festival.  No local wines were offered and again, that decision was based on the Winchester Exchange Group. So many of the gripes were out of our control.

Stoney Creek Bluegrass
Good bands were featured all weekend long. This is Stoney Creek Bluegrass.

HIGHLIGHTS:  Among certain highlights was a rare "BBQ TOUR" where 3EYZ BBQ and HOG-IT-UP BBQ Professional BBQ teams, gave out tips to the public and answered questions about how to prepare, trim and season your ribs. This is very cool that these teams actually wanted to do this and interact with the public.  You may know 3EYZ BBQ from the Season Two Pitmasters TV Show.

hogging up grand champions
Hey, Marylanders won, what can I say? 3EYZBBQ, way to go guys.

WHO WON?  3EYZ BBQ was also our Grand Champion!  They are from my home town of Maryland, so I was glad to see them win. Even though I figured it would be anyone's guess who won since we had judges from all over the map and not just local judges.  Many contests pick the closest and most local judges to avoid no show issues but my wife was adamant about mixing it up and picking those who would come and visit Winchester, which was the point of bringing some out of town revenue.

Full list of results is here: Results

big fat daddys food
Delicious Food!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:  Will we do this next year?  That remains to be seen. We've been asked to do it in other locations or other states, but it was a lot of work (nine months of dedication to one festival) and of course, costs a lot of money to put on an event.  We did what we set out to do and we'd like to leave it at that.  We  would like to thank our family and friends for putting in the excruciating hours and supporting us. It was very sentimental to us to have a big festival and raise money for something that meant so much to us personally, since losing my wife's mom to Cancer.  There's not a lot of BBQ places around Winchester. Maybe you need to use Betamenu to trade buy or sell barbecue in the meantime. One of our competitors, Jordan Springs, has the Jordan Springs Market near the fairgrounds and sells bbq on weekends!

pig roasting bigfatdaddys
Just like this little pig on my BBQ pit, I needed a vacation.

VACATION:  After this festival we needed a vacation to relax and reflect on things.  Here's a vacation idea:  how about having a great vacation package which includes dining out, sleeping in and afternoon tea?  Best vacation packages and ideas on Les Routiers , covering all UK and Ireland. Nothing like getting out and seeing the world and exploring great places to eat!

danforth maine
Here's my hideout. Danforth, Maine

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