Avon council approves summer events funding
AVON — One summer festival is returning to town this year, and another, new event will bring a big helping of Latin culture and music.
The Avon Town Council on Tuesday agreed to provide about $128,000 in funding for the second year of Flavors of Colorado. That event, set for July 24-26, will bring a combination of food, music and art to Nottingham Park. The first year of the festival drew only about 1,000 people. Town staffers and the crew at Highline Sports and Entertainment believe the event can triple that first-year attendance, thanks to better promotion and the fact there’s little known competition from other events that weekend.
The council also agreed to provide $50,000 to help kick-start the first year of the Cielito Lindo Music and Heritage Festival, set for Sept. 18 and 19 at Nottingham Park.
The Flavors event will be free to the public — with vendor booths selling food, drinks and other items, of course. The Latin music festival will require a ticket to get in.
Avon Town Manager Virginia Egger has spent a good part of her professional life in Telluride, where summer festivals outperform winter business. That means Avon has a new focus on events, particularly in the summer.
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A memo about the Flavors event, penned by Special Events Supervisor Danita Dempsey and Director of Economic Initiatives Susan Fairweather, notes that the town’s special events strategy calls for developing “up to eight signature events” for the town.
During presentations for both events, council members questioned the spending for new events, particularly since the town’s 2015 budget has set aside $300,000 for events promotion.
“I’m all for investing in events,” council member Scott Prince said. “But this is a three- or four-year commitment (for Flavors). Where I’m struggling is using so much of our budget.”
Egger said established events can provide a great return on investment to towns. But, she added, towns have to be willing to help those events become rooted into the seasonal calendar.
Mayor Jennie Fancher said she recently attended a presentation about Vail’s special events. She noted that while Vail supports its “signature” events, the town is also willing to spend to start new events and is unafraid to drop its support for events that aren’t bringing results.
“I have many concerns about this,” council member Matt Gennett said of the Flavors event. “But it’s a risk, and you’ve got to start somewhere.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com or @scottnmiller.