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“First time visitors are typically surprised at what they find at the battle,” said Suzanne Tubis, vice president of publicity for the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle. “We have been really lucky with the great sponsors and exhibitors we have been able to attract over the years, and much of that starts with having a great title sponsor like Safeway.” Tubis also spoke to the other factors that have attracted sponsors over the years, like its longevity. “Coming into our 18th year, the battle has longevity with a proven turnout year after year. We have also earned a solid reputation with the marketing companies and sponsors that our event provides a really good setup for them and they will be taken care of from start to finish,” Tubis said.
Exhibitors and sponsors with giveaways or interactive elements attracted the most attention throughout the two-day festival. Lunchables and local cable provider RCN both brought in climbing walls for attendees while the Oxygen Network showcased its dancing competition show, “Dance You’re A** Off” with dancing demos on its mobile stage. Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines capitalized on the heat by turning up the air conditioning on two of their new buses and using them as cooling stations. Once inside, guests could sit down in the new leather seats and check out new amenities, like on-board Wi-Fi.
When it came to food, attendees could purchase everything from pad Thai and French fries to turkey legs and pulled pork from a variety of vendors or they could line up for the free samples in the massive Safeway sampling pavilion. Despite waiting times that lasted more than hour, the tent offered some 30 free samples from a variety of sponsors.