Fraser veterans rally makes big media splash |

Fraser veterans rally makes big media splash

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

The 2007 Salute to American Veterans Rally in Winter Park was displayed on the front page of Rocky Mountain Quick Throttle Magazine this month.

The magazine, which describes itself as “Your local motorcycle magazine,” contained a two-page spread on the event, which mostly printed positive feedback from community members, and it featured several photos of the Traveling Vietnam War Memorial, the Veterans Parade, and lots of motorcycles.

This year was the first time the four-day event was held in Grand County. The article stated that despite the “hoopla” involved surrounding the move from its long-time venue in Cripple Creek, “the Salute to American Veterans Rally seems to finally have a solid foundation in a welcoming community.”

The Rally also received some ink in Southwest Scooter News and Thunderpress ” two publications that cater to motorcycle enthusiasts.

“We’ve gotten quite a bit of coverage. The crowd that comes (to the rally) definitely reads these publications, so it’s important to them,” said Catherine Ross, executive director for the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“All had front-page coverage with long articles inside, and very positive coverage,” she added. “We’re excited that people who came were that happy with it.”

The Chamber is moving forward with the notion that the veterans rally will be held again next year in the Fraser Valley. However, Ross pointed out she is waiting to have budget meetings with the towns of Winter Park and Fraser before announcing specific plans for the event in 2008.

The Chamber has also asked Grand County to help pay for additional security at next year’s event and is currently seeking sponsors for next year.

The veterans rally drew the most people into town at one time, Ross said. More than 10,000 people attended on Saturday.

“We’ve had that many people in town during music festivals, but not all in one time on Saturday,” she said. “In the past 14 years, we haven’t done anything downtown that big before.”

But despite the popularity of the event, the Chamber realizes the veterans rally didn’t generate the business that was originally hoped. While some local businesses said they had a good turnout, others barely broke even.

On Saturday night, a majority of the riders who turned out for the rally rode back to the Front Range instead of spending the weekend. Many rode their motorcycles throughout the county but didn’t return to the Valley for lodging or shopping.

“We’re making plans and looking at ways to get the riders to come back to the Fraser Valley,” Ross said. “They’re on motorcycles. They want to ride. We want them to see it all but come back.

“That’s our challenge next year ” to see if we can motivate them to come to the doors (of businesses).”

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