Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lumberjack Chili Contest

THEME:  In choosing a theme, I have to consider what props I have stored and
             which ones I would have to purchase new. 
             For example, when planning my annual office Margaritaville,  the themes
             all include a beach and palm trees, as those are my stock props I've
             gathered over the years. 
             The chili contest themes are usually designed around cows, since I have
              a large collection of standup cardboard cows. 
           But, this is not always the case.  Since cowboys have been associated with
           eating chili around campfires, I branched out years back and
           had a western state fair theme and a wild west theme. 
                         For this year's party, I figured lumberjacks
                              would eat chili, and it worked. 

PROPS:  We have a new GIANT holiday tree and a nice sized one from previous years.
             I asked the office staff to not take them to the party shed we rent because
             I wanted to use them (undecorated) for the chili Lumberjack theme.  I brought
             my two artificial trees to the office to add to the "foresty" look of the main
             lobby.  I own two 5' metal birdfeeders.  I filled one of them with sytrofoam and
            added artificial forest greenery to them.  I bought birch logs and branched on
            Amazon.  I drilled holes in the logs and glued the branches into the holes to
            make miniature trees.  See photo below.



I also have two manzanita trees.  I placed a couple of soft owls in theme for centerpieces.
Add some red checked vinyl cloth (Amazon) which I get on big bolts. 
MURALS:  For each party, I design window murals to fit the theme.  I create these in
               Photoshop in a 14" x 27" blank page.  This allows me to enlarge them to a
              36" x 72" format at either Office Depot or an office printer we use.  For years,
              people have enjoyed them as background, but this year clients actually were
              competing to get one.  I create my own "people" for them from bits and pieces
              of clipart. The guy below was expecially popular.



GAMES:  The clients and staff, especially after the State Fair theme, like a couple
                games.  I made this photo larger in order for you to see the stuffed trees
             on the shelf on the upper right.  I bought 3 bean bag axes on Etsy.  The
             object was to simple knock over the 3 trees to earn a raffle ticket.   
             Sounds easy?  It wasn't.  The fun of a game is to make it look easy, but   
             it actually isn't.  This also gave clients a chance to win cash even if
             they didn't bring a chili.


Lumberjacks need to get their lumber to the river.  So I polyeurathened four slices of wood from Michael's.  I ordered the ax from Etsy.  I already owned the
 wagon prop, the small trees, and the river runner.  The object was to use
the edge of the axe to slideall of the wood slices under the wagon and into the river.  Looks easy?  The table in the photo is deceiving.  It was four tables long.  That's about 20'.  I've learned to be one step ahead of all of these young architects at work.
I spend a LOT of time on how to vote each year.  I finally came up last year with most likely the fairest way.  Each client gets a cardstock half page with nine
ballots.  They are pre-cut between each one to make tearing off easier. The office manager came up with the idea of using lidded soup cups with slots cut in the
tops for the ballots.   There were only three categories this year, plus best over-all.
So, as you can see below, quite a few people got to win this year.  I made
three mini lego cabins on bases, I gave out 2 axes,  and 4 axe pizza cutters along with
cash prizes.  I also asked everyone to come to the party wearing PLAID.


There's ALWAYS a live band at each party. This is "Justin Trawick and the Common Good."

DESSERTS:  I have find that small bite sized desserts work the best.  My "forest dessert bar" had artificial turf, small trees, log trays and small furry animals.  I made my apple pies even smaller, black forest cherry cheesecakes, a log roll, cake pops, and owl cookies.


Don't let mama bear scare you.  Or mama fox.  I have a collection of life-sized animals
I love to fit into various themes.  There are 3 baby bears, a baby fox, mama skunk, 3 baby skunks, and various others.  Below are small versions of all eight panels.


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