Event-Full?

*Disclaimer* This blog post contains my venting. If you are sensitive to venting, please check back, as I hope to have a more positive blog posted by next week. Thank you for your understanding and support.

First up, there is a reason I am not an event planner. There is just too much coordination involved and I want nothing to do with it. That being said, I go to a lot of events and have no problem providing what I hope will be taken as constructive criticism to those that plan them. For instance, the Taste of Chandler festival was a bit doomed by the storm, but had the people working the entrance been a bit more on the ball, the wine being served not been god-awful, and the VIP bags actually been handed out, I would’ve had more positive things to say about the event. The highlights of the evening (aside from hanging with some great peeps) were the gourmet tacos served by none other than Rubio’s and the amazing tea-infused pork and lavender-basil lemonade from Urban Tea Loft.

Taste of Chandler behind us, let’s move on to the Arizona Taco Festival. There’s no doubt that the guys from EaterAZ have proven they are master marketers, what with their bizarre promo videos, bright pink branding, enrolling luchadores to wrestle, and adding Surfside IV to the main stage at the last-minute. They’ve apparently improved their event planning skills from the BBQ festival as well (don’t know – didn’t go), as other reviews of the taco festival were quite glowing in comparison. Still, I feel the need to get off my chest how much they managed to frustrate me at the entrance.  We had tickets and followed the signs, had our bags thoroughly checked and our licenses scrutinized like nobody’s business (would’ve saved a lot of time by just asking if I intended to drink), only to be turned away because we weren’t VIP. And I quote “the sign says VIP Only.” Really?!? Now, I’m not claiming to be an avid reader, but I’m seeing a few more words on that there sign.

So we hauled our asses back into the back of the general admission line (that was moving entirely too slow) and were given no direction when we finally entered, tickets still in hand. We wandered through the breezeway toward the tacos, only to be turned around again by someone stating “you have to go to one of the side tents to get a wristband.” You’d think one of the 5 people at the single-line entrance could’ve indicated such a thing! There were a ton of people in those obnoxious pink shirts that seemed to be doing absolutely nothing. Needless to say, I was ready to blow a gasket. Luckily we found our friends, who had cleverly staked out a random tent to keep me from turning into a lobster, and I put it aside for a couple of hours. Nothing has ever really excited me about tacos, but I did manage to sample Petite Maison’s French crepe-version and it was tasty.

People seemed to really be enjoying the food (and the margaritas). And I must admit I was seriously entertained by the little kids that strapped on masks and jumped into the wrestling ring… how can you not wince in laughter as a 6 year-old boy body slams his buddy? Had we waited any later to go to the festival, however, I would’ve been livid. That stellar marketing, coupled with inefficiency at the gate, caused the entrance line to grow as far as the eye could see. We tracked it all the way across the bridge at the Scottsdale Waterfront and out to Stetson, as evidenced by the photos.

And, for the random thought of the day…

I’m sorry, but if you have to look THROUGH the steering wheel to see in front of your car, you need to get off the damn road… period. And before you all jump to your stereotypical conclusions (like I did), this driver is not 90 years old. In fact, when I passed, it was a girl no more than 20, who would brake and rise up on her tippy-cheeks every time she wanted to change lanes (a cause for road rage by itself).


4 responses to this post.

  1. Maybe the short driver was really one of the six-year-old wrestlers?

    I attended neither the BBQ festival nor the taco festival, but I must say that having a separate VIP entrance and area at events devoted to informal foods seems like reinforcement of the worst stereotypes about Scottsdale.

    In any case, I hope you contacted the organizers about this problem. They seem genuinely interested in attendee feedback and improving the event: http://bit.ly/91esYj

    Reply

    • Good points, Dave! I would’ve loved to get that little driver into the wrestling ring…

      I was planning on having a talk with the EaterAZ guys after the dust settled, but since they’re open to critique now, I’ll have to forward them the info. Thanks for reading my vent & replying!

      Reply

      • Dust settled Chase, haven’t heard from ya!? Anyway, big City meeting today on how to make our entrance bigger. Processing 7,000 people in 4 hours is a feat even the folks at Sky Harbor can’t figure out. We’re tryin’ like hell to crack the no-line code!

      • I forwarded it! 7K? Wow, fair enough… after I saw the ESPN/BCS insanity, I can’t talk any more schmack. Good seeing you tonight, I’ll work on some kind of a high-tech leash solution for those keys.

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