This past weekend was the second time that I have been privileged to attend BBQ fest. The first time was when I was in high school and had no idea that I couldn’t just try all of the food I could find. This time was much more enjoyable, but I did notice some interesting things about the festival this time around that could alter the entire festival!
- This is an extremely exclusive event- As much as we proclaim southern hospitality and as gracious as people were to allow us to try their food, you have to know someone in order to get anything. If you don’t have an inside man, you won’t be able to try the food or partake of the other stuff that attracts thousands of people to the bluff city. I found out that this is the case because most of these vendors don’t hold the proper licenses to supply food to the public so they can’t legally offer food or beverage for sale. Also, most of the teams have yearly dues in order to pay for the cost of food, alcohol, and to rent the space/ entry fees into the festival so most people don’t want to just give away their hard earned money.
- The party doesn’t stop- I asked a friend “when did you start drinking”, his response was “Tuesday”! The problem was that I asked him this on Friday night. Most people take days off of work for the festival including the following Monday for recovery purposes. To the casual observer, BBQ fest starts on Thursday when the gates open, but the teams are setting up shop and start cooking on Tuesday.
- Parking is….awesome?- The money I had to fork over to spend a few hours at the festival and walk a mile is crazy. First off I’ll be honest my cardio isn’t what it once was when I was doing weak people things like jogging; a mile walk is a lot more burdensome than it should be. Then their were like 2 proms, a wedding, and a funeral (probably accurate) all going on downtown at the same time. That being said the next issue was just not being aware that the tent I was invited to was on the opposite side of the river front from where I parked, so I’ll take blame for that one.
- Restroom Shortage- When you mix 10,000 plus or minus a few people with large portions of BBQ and Alcohol their will be a disaster zone. Walking through the crowd feeling like you need a hazmat suit. The best idea anyone has had was holding the event outside, because they would probably have to burn the building down. It was worse than shoving 60 powerlifters with high protein diets and fresh off of a water cut into a single gym with only 1 or 2 stalls. No matter how you plan this thing out, you will always need more bathrooms, so when you think you have an adequate supply- get 10 more!
- Ingenuity- It was amazing to see all of the vendors and the ways that they come up with to make money off of things like t-shirts, key-chains, and mix tapes. My thought was much more practical. I could make a killing just setting up shop and selling Imodium and B-12 recovery treatments. That’s just simply supply and demand economics.
- No Vegans- It was incredible the entire time I was there I didn’t have a single person talk to me about the benefits of being vegetarian or vegan. I had no idea that such a place existed. I at least expected to have some picketers or something telling me that pork lives matter (epic name for a new BBQ fest team) or something about save the ozone. I should go ahead and start a team for next year with that name, but if someone takes it just give me credit and send me a t-shirt.
If you haven’t been to the festival before, do yourself a favor and find someone that has a team and check it out next year. It was a great time with great people and friends.