A Quick Planning Guide to Holiday Bake-Offs and Cooking Competitions

Hosting holiday bake offs or a local cooking competition is a great way to bring members of a community together during the festive season. Whether you are hosting a baking competition between small businesses and vendors or between local residents, there are a few tips to help along the way.


Benefits of Hosting baking or cooking Competitions

Hosting holiday bake offs and local cooking competitions can help to spread the word about a particular case, business, or even an entire group of vendors. Regardless of your reasoning behind planning a bake-off this year, there are many benefits to keep in mind, such as:

  • Draw attention to a particular brand, business, idea, or group of vendors who are supporting and sponsoring the event.
  • Generate traffic during the holidays to help bring members of the community together.
  • Increase brand awareness when promoting your own business and brand to members of the local community.
  • Promote particular products, services, or ideas to the community that are most likely to resonate with attendees.
  • Spread joy and excitement during the holidays, ultimately helping residents of your town or city to feel more positively about the upcoming season.


1. Choosing a Holiday Theme for Your Competition

Before you begin planning and setting up your holiday bake-off or cooking competition, consider selecting an appropriate and fitting holiday theme for the event. Some themes to consider to help attendees and participants to get into the holiday spirit might include:

  • Peppermint swirl (red and white-themed decor)
  • Silver & Gold
  • Gold, red, white, and silver
  • Gingerbread houses and gingerbread men
  • Pies and holiday-themed desserts
  • Christmas cookies and traditional holiday cookies
  • Side dishes (stuffing, cranberries, gravy, potatoes, and more)
  • Beverages (are you hosting a hot cocoa station or offering adult beverages to those of age?)


2. Consider Hosting a Virtual or Hybrid Event

Whenever you are planning a local event today, it is advisable to consider the opportunity to host a virtual event or a hybrid event.

A hybrid event is typically held in person with the option for attendees to view the event online, often via a live-streaming platform. A virtual or hybrid event can appeal to those who are enforcing social distancing rules or to those who are simply unable to attend in person. With a virtual or hybrid event, you can also expand your reach when it comes to the demographics you can target while promoting the event itself.


3. Setting the Rules of the Bake-Off

Prior to the official planning and promotion of your upcoming holiday bake-off, be sure to create and set the rules of the competition ahead of time.

Setting rules before your bake-off can also help those who are thinking of entering to better familiarize themselves with the competition before it begins. If you're using an event registration, you should be able to display the rules of the bake-off prior to them entering or purchasing tickets. 


4. Planning the Logistics of the Competition

Take the time to plan the logistics of the bake-off or cooking competition you intend to host. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where will I be hosting the bake-off?
  • Who am I trying to reach in my local community? Do I want locals to enter the bake-off, or am I appealing to small businesses and independent vendors for promotional purposes?
  • How will I reach those I intend to appeal to for the upcoming bake-off?
  • How will I help those who enter the contest to spread the word about the bake-off and any prizes I intend to offer?


Start by asking these questions to identify what you need to address or answer moving forward when designing the event. 


5. Choosing Prizes

Choosing the right prize for a bake-off can also determine the overall turnout. Will you be offering status, a custom trophy, gift cards, or a tangible prize to contestants? What type of prize is likely to draw in the biggest crowd?


6. Finding Judges and/or Volunteers

Finding judges for a bake-off or cooking competition during the holidays should be done by seeking local volunteers or trusted members of the community. Allowing credible members of the community to judge bake-offs can prevent public backlash, allowing the event to go smoothly, regardless of the outcome and, ultimately, the winner(s).


7. Seeking Out the Right Host

Whenever you are planning any type of competition with locals and members of the public, it is important to do so with the right host in mind. Finding a host for your bake-off or cooking competition will require a bit of research and an understanding of your audience.

Some qualities to look for when searching for a competition host include:

  • Experience: Ensure that the host you hire is experienced with hosting similar types of bake-offs or cooking competitions that you intend to host.
  • Charisma: Find a host that is not only experienced, but one that is charming and charismatic. A host should be able to bring a bit of excitement into the competition itself.
  • Fitting for your audience: Whenever you are searching for a host for a bake-off, it is important to choose an individual who truly resonates with the crowd you intend to invite. A host can make all the difference in how attendees experience a holiday cooking competition or bake-off.


8. Creating an Online Registration

Creating an online registration is one way to streamline the process of planning and hosting any holiday bake-off or competition. With online registration, create multiple ticket types, set pricing tiers, and even promote merchandise from participants and/or vendors in one easily accessible location.

Hosting holiday bake offs helps local citizens to come together during the holidays over a common love; delicious food and desserts. With a ticketing and registration platform, you can easily plan and host your holiday cooking and baking competitions, all from one simple location.

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