Grand Canyon Themed Chili Contest
I have started the post with the check-in area at the front of our office, where we have the chili contest for clients and friends every year in March. In the background you see three of the first four 36" x 72" posters that represent the top of the Grand Canyon. In the forefront you are greeted by our wolf who overlooks the name tag distribution.
I set the tables in the hall up into a U formation. I chose beige vinyl to represent desert sand. One of my new umbrellas brings the ceiling down for intimacy. You can see two of the silk plants, a deer, and the centerpiece rings I used to add cacti to the theme. I had another table for seating farther back by the live band. This space is quite large and we have used it in many ways for functioning.
The second set of four posters represented the bottom of the Grand Canyon, with the mule riders, rafters, and camping represented. The band is to the right
of the red chairs.
In the conference room, I used the monitor to represent the entrance to the park. The posters in this room showed hikers going down into the canyon. Under the monitor, you see my chili crockpot which has a smaller one to the right of it filled with hot dogs. There is a container of hot dog buns next to it.
This was very popular last year, and again this year.
The conference table was also covered in the beige vinyl. If you are new to the blog, you will see the reusable tin trays under the chilis, which really help to keep the table organized. I reuse my chicken feeder every party. It is narrow and long and is perfect for the spot. For this party, I spent months buying cacti to fill it. I found nice sized ones at Pier One and on a site called afloral.com. (I am not associated with any stores I mention.)
In the corner of the conference room is my huge camp cook, new to the scene of party characters.
Party goers could "hike" to the back kitchen area to the Canyon Cafe. My other umbrella was set up back here, along with the trailer tent I bought a few years back and two of my large stuffed deer props. This is where the dessert bar was. You see my sister and brother-in-law making final dessert touches to my presentation. They are the best helpers ever. I am not entirely sure our clients know that they do NOT work for our company.
Above are the monitors in the kitchen (Desert Cafe) with another entrance to the Grand Canyon Park. I made cactus cake pops, lemon pound cakes, three different types of pies AND. . .
cactus cookies AND. . .
thin mint cheesecakes (and a chocolate pound cake).
I have added more pieces to my log themed serving platters.
About five years back, I had a State Fair themed chili contest. It had a LOT
of carnival games. The clients loved it. So, as requested, I have a few every year at this party. It gives people, who have NOT made a chili, at shot at the cash prizes. Below you can see the directions board and the hoops on the
In the main hall that runs front to back in the office, I had PRAIRIE DOG CURLING. I use the soft side of industrial size velcro to make wood disks slide.
I bought six round wooden disks at Michaels and painted half red and half blue.
Then I used e-6000 glue to put the six stuffed praired dogs (Amazon) on the disks. Home Depot sells the mop handles without the heads. We put soft sided velcro on that also, to prevent floor scratches. The targets were just blue painters tape.
The last game was a feed the baby owls one. I reused my ever popular frame with the door knob sized holes my hubby cut for me. There was a bug points tag next to each one. I reused my nerf ball shooters. This is fun, but difficult, so that made it popular. My small bread bowl held candy bug prizes. The chocolate ones are small chocolate covered oreos (which you can buy) added to chocolate covered pretzels (which you can buy) with melted chocolate. I attached two candy eyes and licorice antennas. I actually tied knots in the licorice lace, then dipped the knots in the chocolate to attach to the cookie. They were all gone at the end of the party, so I assume they were popular. I had gummy worms and candy ladybugs which I purchased on Amazon.