• How to create your own CupcakeCamp

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    I get a lot of emails asking me how people can throw their own CupcakeCamp in their city. Below is documentation of how to do-it-yourself. – Ariel Waldman

    1. Familiarize yourself with the spirit and guidelines of BarCamp.

    CupcakeCamp is intended to be a completely free event to attend – where people bring cupcakes from home to share at the event for free.

    2. Identify who you will be planning the entire event with and what friends can help chip in the day of.

    • People you may need the day of include:
      • Set-up Helpers
      • Check-in People – Help bakers get set up when they arrive 30 minutes before the event starts
      • Greeters/Donation-takers (this is for anyone who is happy to talk to everyone who comes through the door and ask for voluntary donations)
      • Cupcake Bouncers – keep people from eating cupcakes in the staging room, only let bakers and people wanting to take photographs in
      • Cupcake Carriers – taking cupcakes from staging to the main area when they’re scheduled, taking back empty platters
      • Clean-up

    3. Event Planning

    A. Be organized!

    • You will quickly find out that the event takes quite a bit of organization. If managing email and spreadsheets is not ideal, feel free to use the CupcakeCamp wiki for planning notes between yourself and those helping you.

    B. Obtain a venue

    • Always obtain a venue for free. Office spaces of friends are often happy to host as long as you agree to be in charge of all set-up and clean-up.
    • Note: it is recommended you consult with a lawyer about any liabilities/permits you may have to be cautious of based on the type of event you’re throwing. With the last CupcakeCamp I organized, we printed out signs that said:
      “Disclaimer: Cupcakes are provided by individuals, not the organizers. Cupcakes are served as is; we can’t guarantee ingredients used; eat at your own risk.”

    C. Set a date

    • We recommend setting a date for at least one month in advance to allow for planning and promotion

    D. Plan for supplies

    • Where will the supplies come from financially?
      • The spirit of BarCamp is to not exclude anyone due to financial circumstances, thus we recommend having no entry fee. See below for advice on how to make this work:
        • Options:
          • Out of pocket (cost can be covered by asking for donations at the event)
          • Obtain a sponsor (local shops are recommended!)
          • Ask for friends, attendees and bakers to bring supplies if they can (this can help with items like plates, but gets tricky if you need to depend on someone to rent tables)
    • Supplies you will need:
      • milk (soy and regular), water, cups, forks, knives, napkins, trays, paper, notecards, markers, pens, tape, nametags, labels (for the cupcakes in judges’ box), plastic/vinyl table covers (to make clean-up faster and easier), garbage bags, paper towels, cleaning supplies, enough table space for all the cupcakes in the staging and main areas (sometimes the use of empty bookcases can help if you have limited space), coolers with ice (if no fridge is available), boxes for cupcakes (small for people to take home cupcakes and a few really large ones for the judges to place the to-be-judged cupcakes in)

    E. Make a logo

    F. Set up cupcake registration method and a place for attendees to RSVP

    • For cupcake registration, you can either ask for people bringing cupcakes to email you personally or you can set up a simple contact form.
      • Be sure to ask for cupcake registrations to include how many and what type of cupcakes they intend to bring, if they’re baking them or buying them from the store and to let you know if they change anything before the event.
    • For RSVPs, we recommend using Upcoming.org (e.g. http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/1295713 )

    G. Promote / Communicate how CupcakeCamp works

    4. Baker Communication / Organization

    • People bringing cupcakes will register them via direct email or contact form
    • Someone needs to put the types of cupcakes, how many and the name/email of the person bringing them into a master spreadsheet.
    • Once the cupcake information is entered into the spreadsheet, someone needs to email the baker back to let them know they’re registered, along with additional instructions (see: http://cupcakecamp.pbwiki.com/Baker-Confirmation-Email for an example template)
    • When cupcake registration is closed (we recommend making the deadline for cupcake registration 3 days before the event), make a cupcake schedule. For CupcakeCamp2, we had 2,000 cupcakes over a 3 hour event – this equated to scheduling approximately 9 dozen cupcakes to be brought out every 10 minutes.
    • A day or two before the event, email all the cupcake bakers their schedule and additional instructions (see http://cupcakecamp.pbwiki.com/Cupcake-Schedule-Email for an example template)

    5. The Event

    A. The Venue

    • The venue should have two distinct areas: an area for the attendees to be in and eat cupcakes when they’re brought out to the 2-3 tables in the room; and a “cupcake staging area”.
      • The “staging area” is a room where the cupcakes that are brought a half hour before the event starts are held until they’re scheduled to be brought out to the main room. There is *no eating allowed* in this room – only bakers, event organizers, cupcake bouncers and people wanting to photograph the cupcakes are allowed in and out. Make sure to have enough table space for all the cupcakes that will be brought 30 minutes before the event (e.g. CupcakeCamp2 had to plan for 2,000 cupcakes to come all at once!).
    • Have a table or two dedicated to refreshments, plates, etc.

    B. Timing

    • Cupcakes should be brought out to the crowd every 10-15 minutes. Any longer and you have people standing around for too long.
    • Have people bringing cupcakes show up at the venue 30 minutes before the event starts. This allows you to get everyone accounted for before the crowds come.
    • Post a cupcake schedule inside the venue (e.g. http://flickr.com/photos/borkazoid/3091570660/ )

    C. Competition/Judging

    • It’s not required to do a competition for CupcakeCamp, but it can encourage more creativity in the types of cupcakes you get at the event.
    • Pick 3 categories (anything from best taste to most crazy). Categories we’ve used in the past: Best Frosting, Best Cake, Most Bacon, Best Holiday, Most Unique Ingredients, Best Decorated.
    • When bakers come to the event, have the “Check-in People” ask if they want to be judged for the competition. If yes, ask them to sign up their name and type of cupcakes next to a number, then place a sticker with the same number on the bottom of a cupcake that is put aside for the judges to judge after the event is over (this is easier rather than to try and fit it in during the chaos of the event).
    • Choose winners and runner-ups for each category
    • Provide prizes to the winners (optional)

    6. After the Event

    • Send thank you’s to those who helped, sponsors (including the venue owner) and those who brought cupcakes
    • Announce the winners and distribute prizes (if applicable)
    • Take a sugar break!
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