Thirty special events in the Cultural/Recreational/Community (CRC) category are receiving $829,000 in support from the Town of Vail Commission on Special Events (CSE) in 2016. An additional $150,000 has been awarded to eight proposals falling into a new category of Education/Enrichment (EE) events and programming that support the Town Council’s focus on providing Vail’s citizens and visitors with “an abundance of recreational, cultural and educational opportunities.” The funding comes from monies collected from Vail business license fees and from the Town of Vail General Fund. The Town Council has contributed an additional $51,500 to supplement the fireworks budgets for Vail America Days and New Year’s Eve to enhance the experience for guests and residents.
The CSE used a rating scorecard to evaluate the CRC 2016 requests based on an event’s potential to: 1) increase room nights; both regional and out of region; 2) drive group hotel business; 3) increase sales tax revenue; 4) optimize the event calendar by encouraging “the right events at the right time;” 5) deliver the optimal visitor mix based on the target demographic identified per research data; 6) continue to deliver fresh content; 7) build sense of community; 8) promote vitality, fun and celebration; 9) support the Vail brand; 10) leverage media exposure, marketing “reach” and additional sponsorship support and participation; and 11) producer qualifications including proven quality, knowledge and resources to sustain and grow the event.
The largest allocation, $85,000, was once again awarded to the Vail Valley Foundation to support the GoPro Mountain Games in June. Other notable events returning this year include the Vail Film Festival ($45,000), Vail Summer Bluegrass Concert Series ($50,000), Vail Holidaze ($24,000), Vail America Days™($65,000), Vail Oktoberfest™($55,000), Gourmet on Gore ($55,000), Vail Kids Adventure Games ($40,000), Spring Back to Vail ($25,000), Vail Snow Daze ($40,000), Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show ($35,000), Taste of Vail ($30,000), the Outlier Offroad Festival returning in September after a successful inaugural event in 2015 ($25,000) and the return by popular demand of Vail’s mountain-style celebration of Mardi Gras, CarniVail ($20,000).
CSE funding will also support a full slate of iconic athletic events that are strong annual contributors to the Vail economy including the 43rd Annual Vail Lacrosse Shootout ($15,000), 44th Annual King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament ($15,000), the World Championships of the Kick-It 3v3 Soccer Tournament Series ($40,000) and the annual Vail Valley Cup, Cindy Eskwith Memorial Cup soccer tournament produced by the Vail Valley Soccer Club ($7,500). New this year will be the Colorado Cup, featuring a Bundesliga professional soccer team from Germany in residence, playing in friendly matches with a Mexican professional soccer team and providing youth soccer clinics in Vail ($10,000).
Highlighting the 2016 calendar are the 2016 FIPS Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships ($50,000) from Sept. 11-18, an Olympic level event being held for the first time in the United States and which will bring global attention to our Colorado waters.
Other events receiving smaller amounts of funding from the CSE for 2016 include PINK Vail!, U16 Rocky/Central Junior Olympics, Vail Whitewater Race Series, Vail Arts Festival, the Vail Family Fun Fest, Vail Automotive Classic, Colorado Grand Finish Line and Concours d’non Elegance and in partnership with Beaver Creek, Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week.
In addition, the Town Council is providing sponsorship funding for favorites that include the Vail Jazz Festival ($74,160), Hot Summer Nights Concert Series ($28,325), Vail International Dance Festival ($47,380) and Bravo! Vail Music Festival ($256,100) which will feature residencies with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, plus a new residency with London's Academy of St Martin in the Fields; all are back to make a cultural impact. The Burton USO Snowboarding Championship ($400,000) was again supported by the Town Council for a fourth year in Vail, and will feature the return to the competition of snowboarding’s popular and renowned champion, Shaun White.
New criteria were developed for the Entertainment/Enrichment (EE) Category, which is focused more on quality of life and educational programming as opposed to the economic return potential of the CRC events. EE programs funded by the CSE this year include: Vail Centre, formerly the Vail Leadership Institute ($56,000), Vail Veteran’s Program ($18,000), Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Programming ($15,000), Global Solutions Forum – a program of the Students Shoulder to Shoulder: International School of Global Citizenship ($15,000), Vail Symposium Winter Programming ($35,000), Starting Hearts ($6,000) and the Vertical Express, a fundraising initiative of Can Do MS ($4,000).
The Town Council’s philosophy in supporting special events with public funds is based on the rationale that special events are not an expense, but rather help to stimulate the local economy by creating additional revenues and vitality. Recognizing the importance of providing accurate and comparable data on how the town’s investment of nearly $2 million in special events, the CSE again committed to an independent third party research initiative in partnership with RRC Associates which showed an overall direct economic impact in 2015 of $49 million to Vail’s businesses generated by the 25 events tracked and a $35 return to the community for each dollar invested. In addition, a $1.33 payback ratio was realized by calculating the incremental town sales tax and Vail Local Marketing District tax revenue per dollar of event funding.
To learn more about this year’s events, visit vail-calendar.com or vail.com. For a complete list of the event allocations, click here.
Contact: Sybill Navas, 970-477-3551
Town of Vail Special Events Coordinator