By Sheila Urwiler, Director, Starke County Public Library System, Knox, Indiana
Patrons were invited to a Cupcake Challenge as part of our National Library Week celebration. They had to register, and bring 3 dozen cupcakes. We originally were going to require that the cupcakes be made from scratch, but then decided that was unnecessary – we were more concerned about the decoration than the actual cupcakes. We did not specify whether professional bakers could enter or not; that might be something to address in the future. We did have a sign-up sheet, which waived library liability. We also asked participants to indicate if they used nuts in their recipe.
It was very easy to find our “celebrity” judges – we called around to local restaurants and the radio station, and everyone we called was happy to participate. And by including the radio station, they helped with publicity.
We had people bring in their cupcakes and set up their displays from 9:30-10 am and then did the judging from 10-10:30 am. Cupcakes were judged on a scale of 1-10, on appearance, flavor, and “celebratory spirit.” While the judges tasted, we supplied them with water to drink, to help “clear the palate.” It required 5 staff members to run – one to prepare plates, two to pass them out and clear them away as the judges finished and also refill water, one to tabulate the votes, and one to take pictures. Once the judges had finished, we tabulated the results, announced the winners and let the audience try the submissions. Because there were so many attendees, we had to cut cupcakes in half!
For more pictures of the cupcake challenge — http://www.flickr.com/photos/