Hosting a contest can be a great spectacle and draw to your event either as a major or minor part. Barbecue contests and cook offs are also unusual and can widen the appeal of your event. You can involve people attending the event as much or little as you like and even use it as an income generator by having paid for public judging etc.
A barbecue contest is a great spectacle, depending on how it is set up, non-competitors can get up close to the contestants, see them working and observe the fine array of barbecue types and styles on display. Judging and awards can also be a spectator event. Certain types of contests lend themselves to public judging either judging that is on display or the public taking part.
Generally speaking competitors pay to enter contests, and while there is a fine balancing act between making the contest accessible and income, at the very least entry fees can be used to offset any costs of putting the contest on. There is opportunity to drive additional income through using the contest as an attraction. If for instance you have a chilli cook off, there can be a public vote where by a certain number of spoons are sold and only members of the public with a spoon can taste and judge the chilli.
What will I need
Depending on what your infrastructure is, you may not need more than just the space to hold the contests. Competitors benefit from electricity supply and water access in the competition area. They are cooking food after all.
Obviously with competitors at your event and possibly the public also, they will need relatively easy access to toilets.
Primarily you will need to have a minimum of two types of refuse collection. Normal rubbish and coal and ash. Depending on your event you may want to have recycling options also, but somewhere secure specifically for the disposal of coal and ash from barbecues. This could be a simple as hole in the ground away from flammable materials, or a metal container such as a small skip or metal bins.
Space and Access
The main thing that you will need is space and access to it. Depending on the type of contest and the number of competitors, the space you have available for the contest will be a deciding factor. Typically, a competitor in a traditional low and slow contest will need space for a 3m x 3m gazebo. Perhaps a 3m x 1.5m in front of the gazebo for barbecues and space behind the gazebo for tent / car / van etc. They will also need to get all their equipment to the competition area, so vehicle access may be required. Other contests types may not require vehicles to remain in the contest area or overnight stays by competitors.
The other deciding factor in the type of contest you hold is how much time you have available. If you want a traditional low and slow contest, these require a entire weekend. With contestant arriving Saturday, setting up and starting cooking. Then cooking through the night for the contest be judged and reach its finale on the Sunday. Shorter form contest such as freestyle, theme rounds, chilli cook offs can be complemented in a single day and also combined with longer formats to have contests over two days.
If you are interested in hosting, running or having a contest at your event, please contact us and we will endeavour to help you in whatever way we can.