Towards the end of 2015, I decided that we needed a once a year fund-raiser that would fund everything we do at ForCanton. I had turned into full time fund-raiser for every event we do and it was killing me. People were tired of hearing our non-stop needs, how much money we needed, and I was tired to always trying to raise funds to help those in our city.
I have a history of putting on large events and decided the best thing we could do with the talent we had around us was hold a large festival…..of some type. BBQ and Brews Festivalwas born from this idea. I have created a lot of businesses, several huge events, started 3 churches over the years, and BBQ and Brews is the thing I am the most excited about. It is going to be incredible!
BBQ and Brews has buzz unlike anything I have ever been a part of. I truly believe the potential of this event is huge! I get emails daily from people asking questions about hosting their own festival, about what it takes and about what goes into putting on an event of this magnitude. I always answer with I DONT KNOW! We haven’t held the event yet, but it did get me thinking that I want to record all that we are doing so I figured my blog was as good of a place as any.
Today I just thought I would record a few quick points on how we even got the point of deciding BBQ and Brews was the festival for us to hold.
- I NEEDED SOMETHING NEW. Sounds vain and sounds like it is all about me but in order for me to be excited about something I needed something new. The last 4-5 years of my life, every event I have put on has been biker related (and I’m planning another one that is going to be huge at the end of the year). I love bikes, I love bikers, and I love biker events, but I wanted my hand in something different for this event. I wanted to reach a different demographic. The biker community supports everything we do but for us to go to the next level we needed to add to our support group.
- I LOOKED AT OUR COMMUNITY. We have some incredible events held in Canton every year. Our Main Street program is very active with events, we have a very large Art Festival, we have a Zombiefest and we have an annual “catch all” festival called Riverfest. We didn’t want to duplicate something that was already been doing so we looked at our interests, talents, and what was something that was not being done already. Well, we love BBQ and we love beer. We had connections in both worlds. Seemed like the perfect fit for us.
- I GOT THE BLESSING OF THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN OUR COMMUNITY. Every community has official leaders and unofficial leaders. We met with both to see their response. I met with several city council members, our city manager, an influential lady who puts on a festival every year, the owner of the local brewery, the owner of a very successful BBQ business, several downtown businesses and we listened to their thoughts both positive and negative. Never underestimate the power of showing respect to those who have earned their stripes in your city.
- I BROUGHT A GREAT TEAM AROUND ME. I know about events but I know very little about craft beer and competition BBQ. I actually think there is no need for me to know that. An event it an event and as long as my team around me knows about the theme we will be great. I provided the bones. They provided the skin. The team I am working with is amazing and deserve all the credit for the event. They took my ideas and made them better. It would have been impossible for me to do this alone.
- I DECIDED WHAT WE WANTED TO BE BEFORE WE STARTED ANYTHING. I had a very specific event we wanted to create. I’ll take about branding in another post but we determined the “brand” of the festival before we die anything else. This allowed us to know ahead of time what got a yes and what got a no. This has proven to be one of the best decisions we made.
The next step after deciding we were going to host a festival and what type of festival we were going to host was to name it and brand it. That for me was the funnest part. I’ll talk about that in a future post.
But for now, hope to see you April 30th in downtown Canton for BBQ and Brews!