The Group: St. Mary’s Catholic School Home and School Committee, Tomahawk, Wis.

The Setting: The annual fall motorcycle ride, which typically draws more than 40,000 Harley-Davidson enthusiasts to the small town for a weekend of events.

The Idea: Sell steak sandwiches in the festival’s food court to raise money for the HSC.

What Went Wrong: It snowed as leaders set up the booth, then rained through most of the weekend. “It was cold and miserable, and people were not signing up to work,” says HSC president Cherie DuPlayee-Brown. On top of that, a parent had put spices on the steak in advance to save time. “The meat absorbed too much and it was so salty that you could barely eat it,” DuPlayee-Brown recalls. Parents ended up having to rinse it off.

What Happened Next: The electricity kept going out, making it hard to cook. Crowds and sales were way down; one mom roamed the area giving away samples. “It was a lot of work just to pitch a sandwich,” DuPlayee-Brown says.

The Outcome: The group made just $1,500 and was left with 20 cases of steak. The meat was eventually sold to parents at cost.

Hog Mild: “We’d be foolish not to capitalize on such a weekend when there’s so many people in this town,” DuPlayee-Brown says, “but I think secretly we’re all looking forward to the day, if it comes, that we don’t have to do this.”

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