Attracting everything from festivals to blue ribbon canines
We often get questions from folks about how the Events Center is doing. . . usually accompanied by a comment that ‘it doesn’t seem that busy,’ or a question like ‘when will it make money and break even?’ The simple answer is – the Event Center and Pavilion are doing very well, and they’re booked more than one in every three days for this year. Events don’t happen every day, all year round. And this is a typical booking rate for venues like this, whether it is our Event Center, the County’s Budweiser Events Center or Denver’s Pepsi Center. Many events are booking years in advance, and we are just coming into our stride.
Another misconception we hear is that these facilities should make money. Most do not – directly. As we predicted in the proforma presented to the public and the Town Board before the facilities were constructed, it is necessary to subsidize the operations of the facility to some degree. Looking broader, however, well-run event centers have a significant, positive local economic impact. Our Event Center brings thousands of people to town outside of the busy summer season. These people spend money in our lodges, shops and restaurants. Many come for an event, and then decide to return for vacation.
Beyond revenue benefits to the community economy, these facilities are amenities for local groups and families to rent for quinceneras, business and public meetings, and ceremonies like graduations. Similar to public parks that don’t provide a net financial return directly to the Town, the Events Complex adds to the quality of life in the community and has significant secondary benefits.
It’s important to us that the Events Complex support community events, as well. Last year was the second time we hosted the Mountain Music Festival, benefitting the Estes Park High School band. We also saw the return of the very popular Mountain Festival, an educational event celebrating Arbor Day, Earth Day and mountain Culture put on by Estes Park Schools and the Town. Other community events included the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby and Banquet, Estes Park Schools Science Fair and Career Day, Safety Fair and the Estes Park High School Graduation.
In the three years since the grand opening, the bookings of the Event Center and Pavilion have attracted a variety of events to support the year-round economy. With a combined square footage of 52,184 and a capacity of 3,700 people, the Event Center and Pavilion can accommodate trade shows, conferences, dances, large receptions and more.
Additional meeting spaces in these facilities include The Porch and Grand Lobby at the Pavilion and the VIP View Meeting Room, Executive Board Room and Silo Meeting Room at the Event Center.
Last year, there were events in the Events Center on 132 days of the year. This year we have the center booked 140 days so far. Our specialized facility has attracted several new events to Estes Park this year, including large professional conferences like the Rotary’s District 5440 annual meeting, the Mountain Dogs of Colorado, the American Cancer Society Cornhole Tournament, Rocky Mountain Craft Spirits Festival and sporting events totaling over 800 youth with the Excel Wrestling Camp, UCA Varsity Cheer Camp and the Mercedes Benz dealers show.
The Wine and Chocolate Festival is a prime example of what we strive to do with the Events Complex. For the second year in a row, the Valentine’s week festival sold out to a crowd of 1000 people, who relaxed and enjoyed elegant offerings of local and regional vendors. An intercept survey revealed over two-thirds of out-of-town attendees stayed overnight in Estes Park, supporting local businesses during a quieter time of winter.
The Event Center is also allowing existing events to grow, for the enjoyment of more residents and guests. Great examples of this include Rails in the Rockies, the Wool Market, Treasure Tables Craft Show and even the Rooftop Rodeo hospitality services.
We’re seeking enticing new, niche events to make their homes in Estes Park. Over the next three years, Estes Park will host three dog shows – all three of these national shows are open to the public. Our facility provides not only space for the exhibition, but serves the needs of the dogs and handlers behind-the-scenes as well. This is an exciting new market for the Event Center and will become even more popular as more breed associations learn about the facility. Dog lovers, mark your calendars! We just hosted the Leonberger National Dog Show, and the Vizsla National Dog Show will take place April 26 – May 2, 2020, while the Bernese Mountain Dog National Show is scheduled for May 10 - 16, 2021.
For more than 30 years, the Town has planned and undertaken improvements to the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park for the purpose of attracting people to Estes Park and creating a user-friendly gathering place for the community. The Event Center is the Town’s single largest capital investment – an investment in the long-term sustainability of Estes Park’s economy and quality of life for local residents. For more information, visit us at www.estesparkeventscomplex.com.