Greensboro Goes Off the Griddle
Promotions, like anything else in life, are what you make of them. So while “Waffle Appreciation Day” might not sound like much on paper, in the hands of the breakfast-loving Greensboro Grasshoppers it was transformed into one of the best theme nights of the year.
I first got a sense of the power of the waffle last month, when I contacted Grasshoppers’ director of special events Allison Moore for some information on the promo (which was held on August 24th). This is just some of her reply:
“August 24th is National Waffle Appreciation Day, celebrating the patenting of the waffle iron by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York on August 24, 1869.
We at the Grasshoppers are very fond of the waffle as our fans chant “Waffle Waffle Waffle” and sing along with Parry Gripp’s “Do You Like Waffles” song on a nightly basis. They do so to taunt the “Waffle House Strike Out Victim” of the night, as they all get free waffles if he strikes out.”
The “Waffle Song”:
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Moore went on to explain that Waffle Day would also feature a waffle eating contest, waffle trivia, Waffle House giveaway items (including cozies and hats), and a special appearance by “The Waffle Man” (a spoof of the West Virginia Power’s “Toast Man”, an eccentric fan who throws toast at the crowd when an opposing batter goes down on strikes):
And, of course, waffle player headshots factored into the festivities:
Anyway…it was clear that the Grasshoppers do not mess around when it comes to waffles. Can you see that they are serious?
After the promo took place, Moore checked in to let me know that it was indeed a “success.” The waffle-eating contest stood out as a particular highlight, with the coveted “Waffle Belt” being awarded to group sales associate Travis Kerstetter:
Those interested in how Kerstetter’s victory came to be should check out this video, which shows the eventual champ out-consuming all who opposed him:
Of particular interest to me was the fact that this clip both began and ended with the music of Weird Al Yankovic (the featured songs were “Eat It” and “Waffle King”). I also must give credit to the on-field MC for referring to Kerstetter’s win as a “Travis-ty”.
And let’s not forget the “Waffle Man”, that mustachioed distributor of fine food product: