Notes from the Director: 2011 Punta Gorda BBQ & Music Festival
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The upcoming Punta Gorda BBQ & Music Festival (March 4-6) is generating a lot of excitement for its first year out. I took a moment to send an email to Jerry Cleffi – Events Director for Smuggler’s Event Management – and asked him to share some of his thoughts about how the cook-off and associated celebration will turn out.
Knowing that Smuggler’s Event Management already blows the roof off the barn with Punta Gorda events like The Flatsmasters Fishing Tournaments, Haunting on the Harbor, and 4th Fest Punta Gorda, I was not surprised to find that Jerry and his crew have things well in hand.
Here’s Jerry’s take on how the 1st Annual Punta Gorda BBQ & Music Festival will take shape, and why they planned things as they did. (Note – any future BBQ Competition Organizers out there? Take notes!)
Are you heading to Punta Gorda to Cook? If so, chime in here and let us know!
On the Initial Planning of This Year’s Event
“This is the First Annual BBQ Event. We researched many different types of events before settling on the BBQ format. Our goal at Smugglers Event Management is to create, organize, and execute high profile special events. Drawing from past experiences with other events, we wanted to put together a big BBQ event that will draw thousands of attendees.
We researched other BBQ events around the country and also drew from our Event Planning experience to create a multi faceted event that will keep attenddees entertained throughout the day.
On Making Plans for Big Crowds
From a logistical standpoint. Friday night is the best time to have a headline event (this year stars Country Music Superstar John Anderson). From a ticketing standpoint it’s easier to open the gates and charge the concert price rather than hold the concert on Saturday or Sunday when there are already attendees on the festival grounds.
Friday night being a headliner also makes a statement to the community that there is a big event happening and draws attendees out on Sat and Sun via word of mouth advertising.
Getting Ready for Top Notch BBQ Competition
We are excited with the teams that have chosen to participate in the first annual Punta Gorda BBQ & Music Festival. I have seen the roster includes some of the top teams from around FLorida. High volume vending was another key to our teams signing up. With an expected crowd of 15,000 we need teams that can handle that type of volume.
The Importance of Big Name Sponsors
Sponsors are always what drives a successfull event, and for a first year we have aquired some significant sponsors such as- Miller Lite, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, PODS, Sunbelt Rental, Peace River Seafood, and Chanet Bros.”
- Jerry Cleffi, Events Director for Smuggler’s Event Management via Kevin Sandridge at the BBQ Smoker Site.
Contact Info for Jerry:
Smugglers Event Management LLC
150 Laishley Ct. #116
Punta Gorda, Florida 33950
Event Website: www.puntagordabbqfestival.com
Main Website: www.smugglersevents.com
A special thanks to Jerry for taking time out to send me his thoughts.
It surely seems like Jerry and his team have a solid game plan at work for this year’s Punta Gorda BBQ & Music Festival. Based on what he shared here, I think it’s going to be a huge hit. I’ve talked with a few cook teams who plan to be at this event. The more I learn about it, the more I’m sorry that I won’t be able to make it down there.
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