Vail’s 50th to cost $3.7M |

Vail’s 50th to cost $3.7M

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – The Vail Town Council isn’t ready to sign a $500,000 check for Vail’s 50th anniversary celebrations until it has a better idea of what those celebrations will entail.

James Deighan, of Highline Sports and Entertainment, showed the Vail Town Council on Tuesday afternoon the $3.7 million budget for the 50th anniversary celebrations, which will be held over the course of seven months and will include many events.

The committee that has been part of the early planning stages, which also has chosen to hire Highline Sports and Entertainment to produce the events, is proposing that the town of Vail contribute $500,000 of the total budget, in addition to $98,000 in town funds for the event via its Commission on Special Events.

The Vail Town Council tabled the first reading of the 2012 budget later Tuesday evening. The $500,000 is not included in the draft budget as of now but, rather, proposed to come from the town’s reserve funds.

Vail Resorts has already committed to $500,000 in contributions, Deighan said, not including the money the company already spends each year on Snow Daze and Spring Back to Vail.

The meeting quickly turned argumentative Tuesday, as council members asked for more details about the various events and celebrations, details which Deighan said had already been outlined months ago.

Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said without details of the events, the council is being asked simply to trust the event producers to put the town’s money to good use.

“That’s not good enough for me,” Rogers said. “It’s contentious only because the number is so huge.”

Rogers said the town can’t be expected to know whether the $250,000 proposed for so-called vintage parties, for example, means something classy at the Ritz-Carlton or kegs of beer in the streets.

“I think our reputation should show that we’re not going to put a keg in the street,” Deighan said. “We’re going to run a first-class, world-class party.”

Deighan pointed out that the town contributed $200,000 to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge – the town actually contributed $175,000 cash and about $57,000 in-kind – a one-day event, and that $500,000 isn’t a huge amount of money “relatively speaking,” he said.

When asked what the overall mission of the 50th anniversary celebration is, Deighan talked about Vail’s world-class destination status and an initiative that would drive visitation to Vail during the celebrations.

Councilman Andy Daly said the mission “sounds a little rambling.”

“I don’t see a clearly articulated vision,” Daly said.

The town will discuss the $500,000 request, along with many other events funding requests, at its next two council meetings.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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