Grape Harvest Festival Rancho Cucamonga

Rancho Cucamonga Grape Harvest Festival- I write a lot about owning and operating a hot dog business. One of the many opportunities that will arise is to sell your food  at public events. It sounds good right? You talk to the promoter and are given the expected attendance and how many people came to the last event. You also ask how many food vendors will be attending. You don’t want more food vendors than people actually going to the event right?   Then you ask how much for the spot and make a decision based on those facts.

Well there is one more step you might want to consider and I know this is not practiced very much. That is to ask the food vendors who attended last years event how well they did. Sounds crazy and you may have to go through a few to get an honest answer, but its worth the time and effort as I am about to explain.

Last August my company was invited to sell our food at the Rancho Cucamonga Grape Harvest Festival. We did the research, talked to the promoter and were told over 20,000 people were expected this year, and had about the same attendance in years past. This was after all the 73rd annual festival and was promoted in the local newspaper.  The one piece of research we didn’t do was to find out who was at the event last year and ask if they were coming back this year. Big Mistake.

What we found out after setting up and getting settled in was that all the food vendors were new this year. That’s a huge red flag! We also found out that on the first night of the festival that either the city or chamber of commerce had a huge tent in the middle of the food court and were giving out free food!

Attendance that weekend was probably about 2000 people not 20,000. Every food vendor lost money that weekend. One vendor I talked to banked all he had on that event to pay his bills for the month. So a couple of points I want to make: If you are in my local area and are approached to do this event, kindly turn it down. Second, if you are asked to do an event even if its the 73rd annual do all your research and make an intelligent decision to attend the event or not. it will save you a lot of grief in the long run.

The Perfect Hot Dog

perfect hot dog


Creating the perfect hot dog starts with cooking, Steam then put on a grill just for a few seconds sears in the flavor.  If you can’t steam then you can boil but wait until the water is boiling then put the hot dog in long enough to reach 140 degrees then put it in a frying pan with a little oil and cook it for about a minute.


The Dog

When it comes to the meat, there are two main types of hot dogs: beef and pork. While some may never have thought about the difference, I think beef will give you the best flavor, and you will want a 100% all beef hot dog.

The Bun

The first criteria for a proper bun should be the perfect fit. Hot dogs and buns go hand in hand and should fit as closely. The goal for the bun should be with every bite, you experience dog and bun as one, and not have bun left after the hot dog is gone.

The bun is a carrier for the hot dog and therefore texture and flavor need to be kept in mind.  A steamed bun is a perfect start.  Then grill with butter until the edges are brown. “When the casing of the hot dog is snapped with the first bite, those juices are unleashed and there needs to be a bun there ready to collect and not get soggy and fall apart.


Once you’ve got the perfect hot dog set in a perfect bun, plain ketchup will not cut it. Starting with a steamed and toasted bun, put grated cheddar cheese, inside the bun and then put the dog on top. It will soften and melt the cheese, then top it off with grilled onions, diced tomatoes, fresh crumbled bacon, a touch of avocado, zig zag some brown mustard on top. Finish with a sprinkle of celery salt.