Yesterday I volunteered at the Grilled Cheese Invitational. The event was divided into 3 main sections. The first was for he main sponsor, Tillamook. They gave out complimentary grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese samples and coupons. They couldn't have been friendlier and had plenty of buttons and photo ops. Izze soda provided soda samples, too.
The next section had several trucks and other vendors. This included 2 grilled cheese trucks, the World Fare truck, Borders truck and vendors like Campanile. Only two trucks mattered here, The Grilled Cheese Trucks, they are the same owners and lines were crazy long for favorites like Cheesy Mac and Rib which included sharp cheese, bbq pork and caramelized onions.
The absolute place to be here, though, was the grill! When you buy your tickets, be sure to sign up to be a judge. As a judge you get access to the grill area where the competition takes place. There are 4 rounds of competition and both pro and amateur competitors. Basically judges line up behind a barrier and every time a competitor completes a sandwich they divide it in 4 and pass out their product with a ballot to judge the components of the sandwich. Each round is about 30 minutes so you have plenty of time to sample many sandwiches.
From what I hear, the event has been madness in years passed but this year was smooth sailing. Keep an eye out for next year's event. They seem to have found their stride and things will just get better and better.