BBQs, Barbecues, Bar-B-Ques or Barbeques

Origins Of Posts

There are many posts I want to write, and will write, for Events Wrangling. But today, for some reason, none of the fifty-plus topics I’ve got written down for future blog posts seemed like the one that wanted to be summarized in cyberspace on June 7th.

So I went for a four mile walk with my son, figuring that during the walk, inspiration or fresh air, or both, would hit me, and along the way I’d settle on an events-related topic to write about.

bbq timeWhilst on our stroll, I asked my son what ideas he could come up with for today’s post. For a number of reasons, he suggested summer barbecues be the subject of my post-walk post. We riffed  briefly on possible aspects of “barbecues” — the exact course of our conversation is lost in the sands of time, but the result of our walk through the desert is that I settled on the topic of barbecue events.

What Does “Barbecue” Mean To You?

bbq in the parkIt’s summer, warmer temperatures are here, and people are celebrating the start of the season. The Memorial Day weekend holiday happened recently. Students finished classes not long ago and some graduated from high school or college. We’ve recently seen a lot of groups having picnics at parks and a plethora of cars clustered around various houses on weekends.

Many of the events I just described were barbecues or involved barbecues.

The above sentence was written by a person who spent his youth in Michigan, USA, and has lived for quite a few years in Wisconsin, USA. I’ve lived and worked outside Michigan and Wisconsin, but the bulk of my years have been spent in those two states. If you’re from a different region of the USA or from other parts of the world, you may not call the events barbecues, as pointed out in the excerpt below from Wikipedia. But regardless of what they’re called, groups of people get together for social gatherings to eat food cooked outdoors, along with other foods prepared beforehand and brought to the event. In the entry for “barbecue,” Wikipedia says:

bbq smoking meat on grill“…The word barbecue is also used to refer to a social gathering where food is served, usually outdoors in the evening or late afternoon. In the southern United States, outdoor gatherings are not typically called “barbecues” unless barbecue itself is served, typically, they use the term “cookouts”. The device used for cooking at a barbecue is commonly referred to as a “barbecue”, “barbecue grill”, or “grill”. In North Carolina, however, “barbecue” is a noun primarily referring to the food; natives of the state never use the word to describe the act of cooking or the device on which the meat is cooked.

Barbecue competitions are held in virtually every state in the United States between around April and September. These events feature competitions between teams of cooks and are divided into separate competitions for the best pork, beef, and poultry barbecue, and for the best barbecue sauces…”

bbq at parkCorrect spelling is also an issue. Wikipedia indicates that “barbecue” is the common spelling. Doing Google web searches showed that “bbq” had 282 million results, “barbecue” had 133 million, “bar-b-que” had 121 million and “barbeque” had 36.5 million.

Barbecue Events

bbq with friendsEnough of definitions, spellings, and statistics. Let’s get back to these social gatherings for food cooked outdoors. As an upper Midwest USA resident, I will henceforth call these events barbecues. These gatherings all require some level of events wrangling, from the totally informal to the elaborate and time consuming. A sampling of the types of events for which a barbecue might be appropriate include:

  • Get-together of a group of friends
  • Extended-family gathering
  • Neighborhood gathering
  • Graduation celebration
  • Summer holiday celebration
  • No-particular-reason summer group celebration
  • Organizational annual gathering
  • Commercial, but informal, noon or evening meal
  • Promotional event
  • Sporting event tailgate party (food in parking lot before the event)

bbq Famous Daves[My son suggested there could be funeral or wake barbecues; he pointed out that when we had a Celebration of Life for his grandfather, Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que catered the event, which he thought was a great idea! I did a Google search for “funeral barbecue” and among the search results, one said, “They’s birthday barbecues and baptism barbecues and funeral barbecues.”]

Events Wranglers & Barbecues

That’s all well and good, you’re thinking, but is there really anything about a barbecue that’s relevant to an events wrangler??

Well listen up, all you events wranglers! If you’ve got kids, relatives or friends who have at some point asked you what you do, tell them it’s just like organizing a barbecue for a group of people you don’t know. Then suggest they consider organizing a barbecue for a large group of people at a park in the region where they live, handling all the details themselves. They can:

  • Figure out which park to use, what accommodations they have, whether it’s booked on the date they want to have the barbecue, who to talk to for reservations, how they’re going to pay for the reservation and use fee.
  • Invite a whole bunch of people, and have people not reply but show up, or RSVP to attend and then not come. (It’s ok if they know some of the people invited, but they should also invite ones they don’t know, friends of friends.)
  • the screamGive everyone directions to the park, then deal with people getting lost or not knowing how to get there because they didn’t bother to read the information you sent them.
  • Arrange for all the food and beverages, who will bring what, how much is needed, electrical power for crock pots, plates, silverware, glasses, etc.
  • Arrange for fun and games before and after the meal, including who will bring what equipment for the fun and games, who will make sure everyone feels invited to participate and is having a good time, and who will rein in the people having toooo much fun.
  • Figure out what to do if there’s not enough food, or not enough of some types of food.
  • Worry about having good weather and where people will go if it rains or is cold or very windy, or what to do if bees or mosquitoes are bad.
  • Figure out what to do about anything else that goes wrong at the barbecue.
  • Take care of cleaning everything up, or getting others to clean things up, get the deposit back for the park shelter (if the rowdy people who drank too much didn’t wreck stuff at the shelter — who invited them?), and generally do post-barbecue stuff that has to be done even though they’re too tired to do anything more.
  • Do miscellaneous other things that nobody told them about, things they figured out as they went along or thought of at the last minute.
  • Listen to people tell them what they should do differently for the next barbecue.

Three things will happen if they take you up on the suggestion to organize and run the barbecue.

  1. They will get a taste of what you do for events wrangling.
  2. They will never volunteer to organize another barbecue, or any other event (or they’ll love it and become an amateur or professional events wrangler).
  3. You’ll get to enjoy a barbecue and not have to worry about a single detail of the event… 🙂

Enjoy your summer (in the northern hemisphere)!


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