This weekend was my first ward activity. Well kind of my second, and kind of the one before my first. I’ll elaborate.
My first first ward activity was the potato derby. I was called to run the activities and the event was planned for later in the week. So I technically presided over the proceedings. But I didn’t do much to run it, did nothing to plan it and basically just helped clean up afterwards. My real first ward activity is next week, and I’ll tell you about it after the fact. I’ve affectionately named it The Debacle and we’ll just see what happens.
But this was the first activity I ran (with Stacey of course), though it had been on the books already. The event was known as the Chili/Chocolate Cookoff, though I most often referred to it as the Hoedown. We send around signup sheets to compete and ended up with more than a dozen chilies and an equal number of desserts. It was certainly more than enough for people to eat and much more than I had initially expected. I think it all falls back to the “Here’s something I can do that will look impressive to the opposite sex” principle. Those of us on the activities committee made cornbread and brought the chili accessories. The actually judging of the chili was done democratically, but was really a minor point. No one really cared if they won (correction: one person stuffed the ballot box, so she obviously cared) and we all just sat around eating chili.
I tried to liven up this portion of the event. Using my mad-DJ skills I made a soundtrack for the event. Because I despise country music (as I said, the event was on the books, I didn’t propose it) my soundtrack was primarily bluegrass and southern rock music, which I felt also fit in with the chili theme. I included some Johnny Cash, tv themes (Rawhide, Bonanza and Hey Dude!) and some interesting covers (Don’t Worry Be Happy and a Radiohead medly, done in western style) and even the most diehard anti-country listeners agreed it was quite listenable. I also set up a western movie room next door, which had the fine choices of Maverick, Shanghai Noon, and because it was a church activity, The Man From Snowy River and Fievel Goes West. I really wanted to provide people an alternative to the second half of the activity: Square dancing.
We hired a caller to run this portion of the event. The main benefit of this was that we made sure he was set up correctly and then never had to enter the room again. The only thing worse than country music is country dancing. But we had a pretty good turnout in there as well, so I consider it a success. Plus no bar fights erupted, and how many country events can claim that?