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EGGtoberfest XVII - Tips & Lessons Learned

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I posted some of these Tips last year, but they were scattered throughout the long blog I wrote about EGGtoberfest. Since folks reading this year’s Eggtoberfest blog entries may not see that 2013 blog, I am posting a blog entry this year consolidating all of the tips in one place. Additionally I am adding some new items from this years show. Also there were some items from last year that were less than perfect. I am writing a section on the lessons learned the organizers needed to improve on from last year’s show. Did the show sponsors learn from last year?

Tips:
Here are some tips and things to know if you are going to be attending EGGtoberfest. Many apply to regional Eggfests held around the country throughout the year:
  • Neither EGGtoberfest or the Meet & Greet are a walk up event. There are no admission tickets sold at the event. You must have a previously purchased ticket/reservation to get in to either event.
  • Your ticket to the Meet & Greet pays for your admission into Stone Mountain Park Friday. Show your Meet & Greet ticket at the entry gate to the park and you will not be charged $10.00 to get into the park.
  • Your ticket to EGGtoberfest pays for your admission into Stone Mountain Park on Saturday. Show your EGGtoberfest ticket at the entry gate to the park and you will not be charged $10.00 to get into the park.
  • Your ticket to the Meet and Greet on Friday & Eggtoberfest on Saturday pays for your admission into Stone Mountain Park for the ENTIRE day. Show your ticket at the entry booth to the park and you will not be charged $10.00 to get into the park for the entire day. I went to EGGtoberfest Saturday morning into Saturday afternoon. I left the park mid-afternoon to return to the hotel. Saturday night I returned to the park in the evening to see the free Laser Show and my Eggtoberfest ticket got us back into the park for free.
  • If you have the wristband from registering at the Friday night Meet & Greet, you do not have to stand in the (long) registration line to get into Eggtoberfest. Wearing the wristband allows you to go straight to the entrance and not wait in line. You show your wristband at the entry gate and you are directed straight to the tent where you pick up your swag bag.
  • If you don’t have already have the wrist band, the registration line forms early. Where I was preregistered I didn’t need to get there super early. When I arrived at 9:15 for the 9:30 opening, the line was around 1,000’ (300 m) long. I am not exaggerating. I counted parking spaces, which I know the size of, to arrive at this figure. Once the gates opened this line seemed to generally move quickly, it did stall several times.
  • Be sure to get you drink tickets out of your swag bag before going back to your car to store your swag bag.
  • The Map of the event (the one with the drink tickets stapled to it) has a schedule of events on the back. You can see who is giving demos and when.
  • If you hit the Company Store first, you can make one trip out to your car with your swag bag and EGGcessories to avoid carrying them around all day.
  • There is a BIG cost associated with setting up the BGE Company Store Tent for the show. Obviously someone has to pay for this. That said,the BGE Company Store tent is not the place to hunt for bargains
  • The venue for this event is a large asphalt parking lot. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and have sunglasses, a hat and sunblock.
  • To get the most food and spend the least time standing in line, plan on getting there when the show opens.
  • It pays to have a plan when it comes to the food (see the Food - Strategy section in the COOK’S AREA Blog entry). If you plan ahead you will have better results.
  • Depending on where you are, the music from the stage can be loud enough I wasn’t able to hear my cell phone ringing in or out of my pocket. You might want to plan on using text messages and check your phone often if you need to hook up with other people during the show.
  • The Soda and Water drink stations tend to have much shorter lines than for the Beer Stations. Even so at certain times one particular Soda and Water station may have a real long line. Often there is another Soda and Water station a short walk away with shorter lines or no lines.

Lessons Learned:
Last year was my first Eggtoberfest. It also marked the show’s first year at Stone Mountain Park after many years at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Things ran pretty smoothly considering that was the first time in a new venue, but they weren't perfect. One thing I heard about the BGE Company and these festivals was they weren't perfect, but they were quick to correct some of the rough edges so people had an improved experience the following year. They pretty much lived up to that reputation this year too. Below is a list of things that we're in need of improvement from last year. In italics is a description of what they were like this year:

Lessons Learned - Meet & Greet:
The Meet & Greet is an optional event the night before Eggfest requiring a second ticket.
  • Last year getting to the Meet & Greet was a little problematic. There could have been more signs and the hotel personnel didn't all know where it was within their facility. I was directed to the wrong end of the terrace it was held on. Where I was told to go was the exit, not the entrance, to the Meet & Greet. Last year I stayed right at the hotel where the Meet & Greet was held and so I had more interaction with the hotel staff. As a result I can't say whether they were better informed this year. This year I entered from the hotel parking lot and it did seem like everything was very well labeled and there was more and better signage than last year.
  • The registration lines for the Meet & Greet we're excessively long at the start. There were only two two tables with 2 people at each table. This made the process long and tedious. This year the registration process occurred in a room off of the Conference Area foyer. There were many more tables and many more people there to handle the registration process and it went quickly and smoothly.
  • One of the advantages of going to the Meet & Greet was your registration wristband was intended to serve to get you into EGGtoberfest Saturday morning without having to register again. Last year it was mentioned almost in passing. The next day the folks at the site didn't seem to know about this in for a while. We were all forced to stand in the registration line even though we were already reregistered. This year they strongly emphasized the importance of keeping your wristband and going straight to the head of the line the next day at EGGtoberfest. This time around the folks at the show had gotten that memo and we got straight in and we're directed towards the swag bag tent.
  • Although the Meet & Greet was held on a very large stack that ran the length of the conference center portion of the hotel, there were too many people for that much space. After a time an indoor Conference Room with tables and chairs was opened up to serve as overflow seating. This took care of most of the problem but it was still borderline too crowded. This year there were less people. I don't know if the BGE company reduced the number of tickets sold to help with this issue or if less people registered and the problem solved itself. Either way the space was comfortable for the amount of people there.
  • Last year the food lines seemed excessively long. This was not a problem this year no doubt due to less people. Whether the lesser amount of people was planned or was a happy accident I don't know.

Lessons Learned - EGGtoberfest:
After two years of attending EGGtoberfest here are some lessons I have learned.
  • As mentioned last year there was confusion which resulted in people who already had wristbands having to stand in the registration line even though they were already registered. This was corrected eventually, But it wasted at least 15 minutes before they figured out what was going on. On Saturday at EGGtoberfest, the people who were pre-registered by virtue of attending the Meet & Greet were let straight into the main. We were let in the admission gate, had our swag bag and were on the grounds in under five minutes. BIG improvement!
  • Like last year there were long lines at times to get into the show. This year when I arrived just before the show opened the registration line was about 1000’ (300 m) feet long. It did seem to move it faster than last year, but it would be nice if they could do something to speed it up. Then again where I was pre-registered it certainly didn't affect me this year.
  • Last year, from all posts about it on the Eggheads forum, it seem like the process of picking the discounted used Eggs was a total disaster. People were waiting for hours and hours. This year one of two things happened. Either the process went more smoothly so there were no complaints, or the moderators took any such complaints off the message boards before I got to read them. My guess is they simply put more bodies on it and made the process smoother and faster.

SOME RELATED LINKS: Here are some links to other blog entries in this series and several blog entries from my first visit to EGGtoberfest in 2013.

EGGtoberfest XVI - 2013
   EGGTOBERFEST XVI - PART 1 2013 Blog Entry about my first visit to the big Kahuna of Eggfests: EGGtoberfest.
   EGGTOBERFEST XVI - PART 2 2013 Blog Entry about my first visit to the big Kahuna of Eggfests: EGGtoberfest.

EGGtoberfest XVII - 2014
   EGGTOBERFEST XVII - MOTHERSHIP 2014 Blog Entry about my first visit to the Big Green Egg Company Store at their headquarters in Tucker, GA
   EGGTOBERFEST XVII - MEET & GREET 2014 Blog Entry about the second Meet & Greet held at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriot Resort. Did they fix some of theses from last year?
   EGGTOBERFEST XVII - MINI-MAX DEBUT 2014 Blog Entry about the Mini-Max which had it’s coming out party at EGGtoberfest XVII
   EGGTOBERFEST XVII - COMPANY STORE TENT
   EGGTOBERFEST XVII - COOK’S AREA 2014 Blog Entry with some Big Picture information about the setup and what went on in the Cook’s Area at EGGtoberfest XVII
   EGGTOBERFEST XVII - SWAG BAG 2014 Blog Entry with some pictures and descriptions of what was in the EGGtoberfest XVII Swag Bag

   EGGTOBERFEST XVII - OFFICIAL VIDEO Web page containing the 2014 EGGtoberfest XVII video produced by the BGE Company

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