Eagle debates where to hold parties, parades
EAGLE — Closing Broadway — Eagle’s main street — is an action that is reserved for parties and parades.
But not everyone is thrilled with the practice, especially businesses in the affected area that are adversely affected.
The Bonfire Block Party — a free concert sponsored by Bonfire Brewing to kick off the Eagle Outside Festival — is slated to close down Broadway from 10 a.m. to around midnight Friday. A second, smaller stage will be set up on Second Street, also closing down that area Friday.
With those closures looming, at least one Broadway business leader asked the town to examine its rules for closing down a major community commercial thoroughfare for special events.
Red Canyon Café owner Ryan Murray said it’s not his intention to be a party pooper, but rather to start a conversation about moving community events to venues that already exist in and around town — places such as Eagle Town Park (which already boasts a large stage area), the Brush Creek Park and the Eagle County Fairgrounds.
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Murray said Broadway closures result in a major impact whenever they happen, but last year’s block party had a particularly harsh effect. “Because of the block party boundaries, the core lost accessibility. In short, because of the Bonfire Block Party, the Red Canyon Café lost more than two-thirds of its projected sales for that day last year. I will be following up to discuss the losses my business incurs this year.”
Diversity fuels interest
Andy Jessen, owner of Bonfire Brewing and sponsor of the block party event, is also a member of the Eagle Town Board. Before the Broadway closure discussion began, he announced he would be stepping down from the board’s deliberations but he did make his case for the event, as a private citizen.
Jessen began by noting he understands Murray’s concerns and has a valued relationship with him as a fellow downtown merchant.
“Ryan and I have complementary customers. He gets them going in the morning and I put them to sleep at night,” Jessen said. “I agree we didn’t do enough outreach to other businesses last year.”
Jessen argued that differentiation — the location downtown vs. at one of the other venues in Eagle that host live music — is one of the things that makes the block party unique. He said it attracts a different set of people to town, who in turn learn about all that Eagle has to offer and are then more likely to return.
“I would encourage everyone to look at the entire proposal and what it means for Eagle,” Jessen said. The goal, he stressed, is to help grow the town’s economy.
During its meeting Tuesday night, the Eagle Town Board did not discuss instituting new rules for Broadway closures and for this year, at least, the block party will proceed. The Bonfire Block Party will get under way at 4 p.m. and run until midnight Friday with the musical lineup including the Altitones, The Congress, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Sun Squabie.