The 15th Shadyside-based BallerBBQ is poppin off this Saturday from 3 to 10PM in the parking lot on Ellsworth across from Soba. Last year the BBQ drew nearly 1000 attendees, enough for the event’s organizers to award $5,000 to the best business idea in Pittsburgh through a contest titled BusinessBout. For this year’s BusinessBout they’ve been awarded a generous grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, with a grand prize of $25,000. Talk about makin’ moves! We had a chance to chat with Alex, one of the event’s organizers, about this year’s BBQ and some background on the event. Make sure you read to the bottom to find out how you can win a pair of tickets!
Kymbo Slice: What inspired you all to start the Baller BBQ?
Alex Palma: The BallerBBQ started in 2007 with 17 guys united at a house just to have a good time. There was beer & barbeque ribs being shared around. Throughout the years BallerBBQ grew into a party, from 47 people to 850+ last year. Vintage sunglasses, live local bands, local beer and vodka were the staple of this attraction, but the success was rooted in the people that came out! The parties have been a place for meeting other young-minded professionals.
KS: How did all of you meet?
AP: BallerBBQ is where we all met and where we are all shared our vision as a group of 5.
Initially, the parties were funded by our own pockets and anonymous donations from our guests. We would pass around a water jugs and ask for donations. It was not required, but greatly appreciated! With the success of our parties we donated all our net proceeds to John Fortney Pancreatic Fund. Two of our members were directly connected to the horrible disease by having family members affected by the cancer. We understood that we were making a difference but not a big impact on the cure for cancer. We shifted our attention to the City of Pittsburgh, which we all love.
KS: How has this event changed from its inception?
AP: Last year we changed our model from donating to pancreatic cancer to holding the first business plan competition in Pittsburgh. We received over 120 submissions, interviewed 12 candidates and had six of them give presentations. We then awarded $5000 to the best idea in Pittsburgh. This year we will be awarding $25,000.
KS: Is there any BallerBBQ memory in particular that sticks out?
AP: The biggest moments that resonate in our hearts are at the end of the party were all of us just have a look around and see the smiles and joy which radiate from all our guests and all the amazing connections that have been established.
KS: Do you have any pointers for BusinessBout participants?
AP: We ask that all BusinessBout participants follow exactly the guidelines outlined. We don’t want to discourage any business ideas, and encourage all ideas to submit.
Check out a trailer for more deets on the BallerBBQ:
For only $20, guests can enjoy complimentary beverages courtesy of Iron City and cocktails mixed by the talented bartenders at Bar Marco. Enjoy food trucks from the following businesses:
• Oh My Grill / @OhmMyGrill
• Franktuary / @Franktuary
• Fukuda / @FukudaPgh
Aside from excellent food and drink, entertainment will be provided by Guaracha and DJ Zan Naz. We’ve scored two tickets to give away to one of the last BBQs of the season, so listen up and follow the Rafflecopter directions below. We’ll announce the winner Friday morning. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway