I Want To Organize A Local Cake Show/contest...

Decorating By soygurl Updated 5 Apr 2009 , 7:35pm by KimAZ

soygurl Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 3:41am
post #1 of 9

Am I crazy??? icon_eek.gif
Here's what I'm thinking... Make sure it's clear that it's open to ANY level of cake decorator, and have different categories so newbies aren't competing with advanced and/or professional decorators.
I don't exactly have a lot of money to blow on this whim, but I figure the main costs are going to be a hall to hold the event, advertising, and printing of entry forms, etc. I think I can get prizes donated (hopefully!!!), and a small entry fee might be enough to offset the other costs. icon_confused.gif

Eeeek. My biggest worry is that not enough people will enter to make it worth while. But I personally know about 10 people who would enter for sure, and maybe 5 or so more that might.... If I advertise well that should bring in quite a few more people right? I'm sure our local cake shop would be happy to let me spread the word there, and I'm thinking I could drop off fliers to the decorators at all the local bakeries, and maybe some art groups too... get artists to try out a new medium.

I was also thinking of doing an on site kid's cupcake decorating contest or something to draw in the public...?

I know... I'm totally crazy and in over my head. But I'm so excited about the prospect of having a local cake contest! Any advice? Any suggestions? Should I just give up on this dream before I waste a bunch of time and money? icon_rolleyes.gif

8 replies
Cakenicing4u Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 3:59am
post #2 of 9

Give it a shot! If there is nothing in your area, I say start a club first and get others interested too... then have a show in a year or so. That's what we did with out motorcycle club the first year... and we had 100 show up the first year! The second year, 300, the third 500+-- it was getting out of control for just my hubby and I to work it.. then his mom moved in with us, and we never got the 4th year set up... We still get emails asking us if we are planning another event, tho!!

You'll never know until you try! Start small with a club and grow from there! After all, wasn't that how ICES got started?


makaylee Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 4:07am
post #3 of 9

i think that is a wonderful idea. you won't know if you don't give it a try.
and if the first time does not go well, you can look back and know what
to do to make your second show go even better. I live in a rural area
where there are no cake clubs. I would love to start one. you can learn so much from other people.

soygurl Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 7:09am
post #4 of 9

Hm... I never even thought of starting a cake club... what would that even entail? Do people just sit around talking about cake? icon_confused.gif I mean, I think talking about cake is fun, but I think it could get old for some people fast... icon_rolleyes.gif But I see what you're saying... I might need to start a "buzz" first to get some interest in a contest. icon_rolleyes.gif

Any more ideas? Suggestions? icon_biggrin.gif

Cakenicing4u Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 11:04am
post #5 of 9

At a club you can find out what each person is skilled at, then plan a series of meetings where you get shown a skill-- like the tassell instructions someone just posted in here... So every week/month you can learn something new! You can have your own mini competitions based on small ideas, like a mini purse cake, like Cake Central has been doing with their theme cakes.... you know, something small that you can have fun with. It gives you a network of REAL people, LOL... that you can call when you have an emergency arise, or need a shoulder to cry on over cake... or someone you can send people too when you are too busy to do it yourself. You can share recipes, ideas, techniques, stories.

Of course that's in the perfect cake world in my head... I don't actually belong to a club, but that's what I would do if I was doing it!

soygurl Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 10:50pm
post #6 of 9

Oh, I now I get it! thumbs_up.gif That does sound like fun!

KimAZ Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 11:10pm
post #7 of 9

I just wanted to share my experiences with doing a cake show. I am very actively involved in the Arizona Cake & Sugar Art Show and it is a TON of work!

It's a lot of fun but to be very honest, it's HARD to get people to actually commit to helping with everything. People tend to just want to show up and be told what to do rather than doing anything behind the scenes. There is so much to be done behind the scenes!!

The main expense is the place you'll be holding the show. We hold ours at a Civic Center. All our rules and entry forms were available to download online through our cake club's website so there was no expense there. There was an entry fee for every decorator. We did get local vendors ( mostly non cake related, more of the in home party type vendors) to come and sell their products at the show. And they each were charged a fee.

I worked my booty off emailing, calling and trying to get prizes from cake related companies to donate goodies for each decorator who entered and for prizes for gift baskets/bags.

As for advertising, that was probably one of the hardest things because I couldn't get any local tv, news or radio stations interested. Our show is not huge ( yet....) so it's hard to get the word out. I did post about it here at Cake Central, at American Cake Decorating and Mailbox News' websites ( who also printed it in their magazines), posted details online at places like Craigslist, Phoenix Backpage, and got info to both the cake clubs in our area. There is only one cake supply store in the Phoenix area so they allowed us to put up a poster ( that was our only expense for advertising). All the other places like Michael's and Joanns that hold cake decorating classes wouldn't allow us to put up any info.

Other expenses included prizes such as medals for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners, gift baskets for Decorator's Choice and People's Choice winners and a cash grand prize for Best of Show. We did give gifts to our judges which were another expense. The other misc expenses included paper, table cloths, misc office supplies & lunch for show committee members.

If you're going to do a cupcake decorating area, of course that will be an expense for supplies. We had a live cake challenge at this year's show and had one local decorator who owns a show provide the cakes but each decorator provided their own supplies.

Anyway, hope that helps.

soygurl Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 7:31am
post #8 of 9

KimAZ, that is a HUGE help! Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of your experiences! icon_biggrin.gif
I'm wondering if you can give me an idea of the scale of the AZ show? Approximately how many people entered? Is there any way you would be willing and able to email me a sample of the rules and entry form you used? I promise I won't copy it, I'm just looking for inspiration...
I'm thinking if I do manage to pull this off it will definitely be a tiny event, but luckily the local community is pretty open to spreading the word about any fun events, so advertising might actually be easier than it sounds like it was for you.
I've kind of been thinking that if I keep it small enough I'll be able to pull it off mostly on my own, with a little help from friends, so thanks for the wake up call! I knew it would be harder that I'm imagining, but what can I say? I'm a dreamer! icon_rolleyes.gif
Thanks again for the info!!

KimAZ Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 7:35pm
post #9 of 9

The AZ Cake Show had 51 entries this year from 35 decorators. We had a new category, Specialty Wedding Cakes and there were 7 of those.

This year was our 4th year doing the show. Last year we had 75 entries, which is the most we've had so far. I'd guessitamate we had about 300 people attend the show both this and last year.

I made up the rules and entry forms by viewing at least 6 other cake show's forms. Some things applied to our show and some didn't so I took some things and ommited some things.


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