An annual celebration of the Big Green Egg in Atlanta, Georgia.
Whether you love to grill and smoke or simply love food, plan to join the 20th annual event in October 2017.
By Chris Chamberlain
Even though chillier weather often signals the end of outdoor cooking season, to a certain breed of backyard chef it’s always time to fire up the charcoal grill. A group of these devotees gathers each October in Atlanta, Ga., for a celebration of their beloved ceramic smokers/grills at an event named “EGGtoberfest.” Sponsored by Atlanta-based Big Green Egg, EGGtoberfest is truly a celebration of a fan base’s shared love of an iconic product. Plan to join the fun next year.
Held on a huge parking lot near Stone Mountain northeast of Atlanta, Eggtoberfest offers several different ways to participate. Teams of two can sign up to cook, and pay a refundable deposit to ensure that they will show up at the event, which kicks off with a Friday night welcome reception and then a day-long grillapalooza the next day. In addition to staging the entire event and providing musical entertainment all day long, Big Green Egg sets up 200 cook stations, complete with large ceramic grills and bags of charcoal. The volunteer chefs are responsible for bringing their own tents and tables, plus enough food to cook for at least 400 to 600 portions. Teams often sign up together so that multiple cooks and grills are going at once so that they can serve a multi-course meal at various points during the day.
If you’d rather eat than cook, you can sign up to be one of the 4,000 attendees who travel from tent to tent sampling bite-size dishes ranging from breakfast to sweets to savory plates. In addition to the amateur chefs, there are also tents featuring professional chefs from restaurant and cook teams from around the country. They present cooking demonstrations and educational seminars throughout the day, and also help feed the masses.
One of the best parts of EGGtoberfest is the generous offer that Big Green Egg makes to fans on that day: All the cooking has to be done by 3 p.m. in the afternoon so that the grills can cool down and be cleaned up. Then at 5:30 p.m., Egg Heads who have previously made arrangements and paid in advance can pick up one of these once-used grills and take them home at drastically reduced prices. The company also sets up a huge temporary store under a tent selling hundreds of various “Egg-cessories” to trick out your Big Green Egg.
The entire day is a blast to attend, and not just because of the five free drink tickets that come in the goodie bag that can be redeemed for beer or soft drinks. The real highlight is to be among a crowd of folks so dedicated to their hobby and the company that makes it possible. Sure, there may be a slightly cultish atmosphere and there is definitely a marketing advantage for the company to gather so many advocates in the same place at one time. But most of all the positive energy of the assembled crowd transcends the differences that seem to divide us and make so many people generally cranky of late. Here’s to peace, love and Big Green Eggs!
The 20th annual EGGtoberfest will be held in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday October 7 or 14, 2017. At press time, the date was not yet finalized. Check the website linked above for updates and details.
– Photos by Dean Philbrick © HSP Media LLC
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