The 2nd Annual West Coast BBQ Classic took place at The Queen Mary in Long Beach this past Saturday afternoon. BBQ experts from across the country drove their camper vans, motorhomes, RV’s, and more down to Long Beach to compete for the title of Best BBQ of the West. The winning contestant took home $9,000, with attendees assisting with judging by voting on their favorite entries. Upon first appearance, this BBQ fest appeared similar to the Dana Point one last year in terms of layout and structure. However, the Dana Point one operated the event right, whereas this one at the Queen Mary just had disaster written all over it. Read further below to find out what went wrong.
Although thousands of people attended this BBQ Fest, too many things went wrong that would put off many from ever attending again. The Queen Mary marketed this event as $10 online and $15 at the gate. However, attempting to purchase a ticket online would incur a $5 service charge, resulting in an admission fee of $15 anyways. For reasons unknown, no one could physically go to the Queen Mary to purchase a presale ticket for $10. Add on a $10 parking fee per vehicle, and you have a BBQ Fest that could cost as much as $25 for one person to enter. Anyways, after waiting in a long line to park then another long line to enter the fest, guests gazed in horror at an even longer third line. In order to receive any food at all, guests must purchase food tickets at $2 each, and only two of these ticket booths existed inside. Not only did guests have to wait in terribly long lines just to park and enter the fest, but then guests had to wait in a longer line just for the opportunity to receive food. At $2 per sample, guests received a meager piece of meat from every contestant, since all contestants needed to stretch their rations across all seven hours of the fest. Not only could contestants not send for someone to go out to buy more meat, but they would not have time to marinade or slow-cook the meat anyways. In the end, guests ended up spending so much money on so little food. Some will say that you pay for the experience rather than the content, but why would anyone pay to stand in lines in the hot sun for hours? If you went to this BBQ Fest, you wasted both your time and your money. With the Queen Mary on this downward spiral of “money sink” events and constantly double-booking events, I start to worry about Ink-N-Iron Fest approaching next month and how it will operate. Only time will tell, so stay tuned to mid-June when I recap my weekend getaway to Ink-N-Iron.