Fraser hears update about negotiations on Veterans Rally |

Fraser hears update about negotiations on Veterans Rally

Negotiations are under way on whether the Salute to American Veterans Rally will return next year to the Fraser Valley.

During a discussion of next year’s special events schedule at Wednesday’s Fraser Board of Trustees meeting, Chamber of Commerce Director Catherine Ross told the trustees that the first negotiations were held earlier that day with Pro Promotions, the producer and promoter of the Salute to American Veterans Rally.

“We had very good talks today,” Ross said. “Both parties put their proposals on the table. Neither was completely acceptable to the other. We will continue to work through some of the issues.”

Ross said the issues requiring further negotiation include concerns over safety, traffic flow and the “community’s core values.”

“We are working together very cooperatively with the promoter, but also very professionally to represent our community and help promote our businesses,” Ross said.

The year’s Salute to American Veterans Rally was slated to be held the weekend of Aug. 15-17 in Fraser and Winter Park, but an unseasonable snowstorm hit the area, which forced the event to be foreshortened. This was the rally’s second year in the Fraser Valley.

Ross told the trustees that this year’s weather-shortened event was a “blessing in disguise” because the traffic flow plan for it would not have worked. As part of the negotiations, she said they needed to “go back to the drawing board.”

The decision to continue negotiations with Pro Promotions followed public protests after the Winter Park Town Council announced that it had decided to “not to invite” that organization back to produce the rally. The Winter Park Town Council’s decision was made at a Sept. 9 special meeting between the council and the chamber of commerce on next year’s special events schedule.

After the announcement of town council’s decision, several local businesses objected, claiming the rally was one of the best events of the summer. Local veterans also argued that canceling the rally would be a “black mark” against the area.

Following those protests, both the Chamber of Commerce and Winter Park Town Council decided to reconsider the decision. They directed Ross to continue negotiations with Pro Promotions this fall.

Some of the most notable features of the Salute to American Veterans Rally include the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall and a mainstreet military parade in downtown Winter Park featuring marching units and hundreds of veterans on motorcycles.

The Salute to American Veterans Rally was previously held for 14 years in Cripple Creek before moving to the Fraser Valley in 2007.

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