2007 Fiery Foods Show In Review
OK, so between the fat ass jokes, the big head jokes, meeting new friends, the drinking, the salt laden food, the gambling, and the drinking topped off with more drinking – there was a Fiery Foods and BBQ Show held at the Sandia Resort and Casino in New Mexico. Now right before this show Nick asked if any of the attendees would mind giving the bloggers an insider view of the show. Now the only requirements were to take plenty of pictures and share with the HSB my experience in NM. As for the picture part, you will have to check out Flickr because I took not one picture in NM. Nope, not one. Kristi and Lisa got a few, but I kept forgetting to bring my camera any where I went. So I am hoping that I can at least get the “sharing the experience” part right.
Now any one who is an exhibitor at these types of shows know how much prep work that goes into being prepared for opening day. Also these same exhibitors know that no matter how many months of planning you do before the show, there are always a list of last minute things that need to be done that seem to out weigh what has been done for months! Plus you can never really plan for what the public will want or expect from you. The last four weeks before the show are always the “SERENITY NOW!” moments. (any Seinfield fan will know what I am talking about) But once you have done all you can do, all that is left is to get to the show and survive!
I hate traveling. I wish that I could just be zapped from one place to other. You either arrive at the airport “just” in time or way to early. Let’s just say we were in the “just” made it category. Between the highly intelligent people at the fast food drive thru we stopped at, that took 15 minutes for one sandwich, and our impromptu tour of Queens before reaching LGA, it was no surprise that we were told that we “just” made the cut off for checking in luggage. Not to mention going thru airport security. One word of advice for all those travelers out there, PLEASE wash your feet before you leave for the airport and invest in pair of odor eaters for your shoes! You know that they are going to make you remove your shoes. The smell of feet any time of day is just not right.
After meeting up with Lisa and Doug, we eat and get to work setting up our booth. Now Doug and Lisa got to the Sandia earlier that morning and hit the booth first to make sure all was Kosher. NOPE! EMPTY BOOTH! Not one box. So they go off looking for Disco Display for our items. Thanks goodness Doug found someone from there and our boxes. Then Lisa shares a story of having to dig thru the trucks with our empty boxes for the two specialty bottles we shipped out because of some eager beaver on the clean up crew. But all seems good now. Then we go looking for our credit card swiper and it is no where to be found with a lot of the other smaller incidentals. I thought maybe when we got our empty boxes back for packing some things would show up, but NOPE I was wrong. But eventually we get the booth looking the way we want it to and are all happy and afraid of what is yet to come.
Now here is where I want to talk about the food situation at the Sandia. Now on Thursday night most of us there had a “liquid dinner”. But we all enjoyed each others company and a little gambling to top off the night. “Liquid meals” are all well and good but eventually we all need something to help absorb the alcohol of the day and night before. All the food establishments in this hotel serve the same food. It is just sold under a different name with a different price in a different environment. I kid you not, the menus were EXACTLY the same last year! Nothing was different. Plus I think they are trying to hide the natural food flavors behind a wall of salt! Even Salty McSaltlick, Garry who salts salt, couldn’t believe how salty the food was. Now that is saying something! I was so swollen by Saturday night that none of my rings fit my fingers and by Sunday night I was so swollen from salt that I actually had CANKLES!
Now as for working the booth Friday-Sunday, what can I say? They are very long and tiring days that you make the best of no matter what you do. You know the gals and I need to look our best and we always start out with the best intentions, but by the days end we are either bare foot or in sneakers! There is always a sense of fun. We love having fun with the customers and the other exhibitors. Not to mention all of our chili head friends! By the end of each day we are all punchy and just about laughing at anything. OK, so the booze we shipped in helped a lot during the long days too.
Plus we had some great neighbors this year, Grumpy’s, Bodines, and Habby 2 to help get thru the long days and crazy clientÃ¨le. Garry and Doug really help THT out more then we could ever thank them for and even Chris K from the blog was out in the aisle bringing the folks our way. Plus who could forget Gary and the Ex selling raffle tickets for us? To borrow the Ex’s phrase there ain’t nothing like good “booth biatches” to help us out. Plus it helps pass the time to have genuinely good people around.
Come Sunday I realize I lost my debit card with money still in the bank. I go to the front desk who just stare at me for a while trying to figure out what to do like I am the first person to ever report a missing card. Eventually they decide to call security to check the last place I remember having it. They tell me to come back in 15 minutes to see if they have come across anything. I go back and they tell me that it was not turned in or found at the bar (yes, I know big surprise the last place I had it was at one of the bars). I ask if I can file a report and they ask me if I really want to do that. YES, I do. I checked my room and my clothes from the night before and it is no where to be found. Hell, I even checked in the folds of my cankles and the rolls of my fingers for that card. They were shocked that I wanted to file a report. I am staying in a hotel with restaurants and a casino. Why wouldn’t I? That process took another 30 minutes to get a guard to get the paper work and get my story. What a way to start the final day of the show!
I think the last day of the show is the worst. Your body and mind have just had it from the long days and the even longer nights filled with booze and debauchery. You start counting down the hours until you can pack up and leave. Then the time comes and you don’t even know where to begin! We had DK and the Ex helping us out and after we all got into the groove of things, we got all our boxes packed and ready to go! Packing was pretty uneventful except that I had to hunt down our large display box. They swore up and down that we had it and then when I insisted we didn’t and described the box, they said “Oh wait, I have that back here by the dumpster. Must not have your name and booth number on it. Oh wait it does have your booth number on it. My bad sorry.” I didn’t kill him because I at least had the box and knew all would be well again. Plus I knew that the casino and bars had taken most of our money and that trying to scrap up bail would be difficult.
After packing up our booth that night we all meet up at the Bien Shur for Doug’s birthday dinner with some of other great chili heads. Yes same salty food as the rest of the weekend but it was more about the company then the food. I think we all had a great time. Some of us tried to have a few drinks after dinner but the bar closed early. So of course we gambled for a while and then headed to our room for the night knowing we could sleep in if we choose to. I know Garry and I choose to.
Monday we sleep in, showered, and packed up. We caught up with everyone who was still around in the lobby and said our goodbyes. Then we shuffled over to the buffet one more time to eat food we had no desire to eat again. We would have been better just eating a box of salt! We played some slots, lost more money, then hung in the lobby until it was time to go. Kristi, Chris K, Garry, and I finally said good bye to Doug, and gave our last birthday wishes, and to Lisa at her favorite slot machine shooting death looks at any one who even looked at her machine!
The flight home was uneventful and we were happy when we landed in LGA. We all forgot how cold it was back here in the East. But we were pleasantly reminded of that fact while waiting for our shuttle back to lot 5. By the time we reached the Jeep all of our fingers were painfully numb and not one of us could feel our faces. But in the end we were all glad to be home, safe and sound, already mentally preparing ourselves for next year.
Until next year…