Reader question: Which is the best night to go to BBQ Fest?

After yesterday’s post about BBQ Fest, I had a reader ask an excellent question: I plan to go to BBQ Fest, but only one night. Which is the best night to go?

Here’s my take on it.

Wednesday is Friends & Family Night, not open to the public. It’s extremely hard to get a ticket. On a large team like ours, it’s difficult to get tickets even for spouses.

Thursday is my favorite night. In my team’s booth – we have a large team with about 50 members – it tends to be a big party with our friends. It gets very busy, but the mood is generally fun and festive.

Friday is when the masses arrive. It’s still fun, but the mood gets a little more tense, particularly at the booth entrance where freeloaders who obviously don’t know anyone on the team try to get in. Also, the cooks begin to prepare the championship meat on Friday night, and we want them to be able to concentrate and do their best.

Saturday, in my opinion, is the worst day to go for a couple of reasons. For one, the judges come by in the afternoon, and everyone has to be out of the booth for the presentation. Then a few hours later, everyone’s out of the booth again attending the awards ceremony. After the awards, many teams start tearing down the booths (not us – we party until they kick us out). Many teams are visibly tired out by Saturday – it’s a lot of work to be on a team. Also, you don’t get as much time to party on Saturday. The park closes at 10, as opposed to midnight Thursday and Friday.

So, if you only go one night, Thursday sounds like the best… BUT…

It’s expensive to organize a BBQ team. As I mentioned in a previous post, a budget of 20 grand is reasonable for a large team. To help cover expenses, many teams get corporate sponsors. Some sponsors, as part of the deal, ask for a “sponsor night” where they can bring in clients. The teams wait on the sponsors during sponsor night and tend to limit outside guests. Not all teams with sponsors have sponsor night; for example, my team’s sponsors, and Bar None, are cool sponsors who want to party with us, not order us around, and we have full run of the booth every night.

So, my answer would be, check with the teams that invited you, and all things being equal, go Thursday. If a lot of the teams are doing sponsor night on Thursday, go Friday.

Hope that helps. Hard to believe that two weeks from today, we’ll be building the team booth. Or, I should say, two weeks from today I’ll be sitting at the Saucer drinking beer while teammates with a stronger work ethic than mine build the booth.