Burning Beast-Who's Been?
This'll be my 3rd year. It's a fun time...
- Pray for good weather. One year it was rainy and definitely took some of the fun out of it. Another time it was sunny, and definitely much more fun.
- Come early (gates open at 4, food served at 6). It's fun to set up your spot, start drinking, walk around and shmooze with the chefs. One year we literally spent an hour just chatting up each tent -- we got cooking tips from Maria Hines, dinner recommendations from one of the Bellingham restaurants, and sometimes they'll give you a taste if the food's edible already. Otherwise it's fun people-watching (they sometimes have art for sale too).
- When serving starts, it's a frenzy. DON'T PANIC. There will be plenty of time. I do recommend packing your plate full of stuff if you can, then sitting down (or munching while you wait). But those lines will go away eventually. There's usually leftovers too, and they have paper Tupperware to take extras home.
- The food in general is good -- hard to say great, mostly because it's cooked on a mass scale, you're not necessarily getting it fresh off the grill, etc. I've had some really great things, I've had some questionable things.
- Bring you own plates/cutlery -- the paper stuff will get soggy, promise. Plus: be green, sustainability, blah blah.
- Bring more booze than you thing you'll need. Believe me, whatever you estimate you'll drinking, bring double. The car will carry it.
- Camp & stay for the after-party!! First of all, if you camp, you can get as drunk as you want (this year my wife is pregnant and can DD, and I'm still trying to convince her to camp). They just set you up at the edges of the parking lot and you can just pitch a tent anywhere. The after-party is quite fun too -- there's music until 11 or midnight, they roll out the unfinished kegs (they sell beer for $4 or $5 during the event, but afterwards they just give the leftovers away), and it turns into a fun scene.
If you have any more specific questions, let me know. It's definitely one of the highlights of our summer!
All of this is excellent advice. This will be our fourth year - we've never been able to camp but are considering it this year.
Definitely bring real plates and cutlery - think steak knives.
If the weather's nice it's also fun to tramp around the grounds of the farm, dip your toes (or more) in the river. The weather has not been terribly nice most years, however - sheer bad luck.
Bring your own shade structure/rain canopy, and things to sit on if you can. It's more fun to sit outside than in the barn. But again, be prepared for rain and damp ground. There's no table service and not many tables.