Winter Park: Veterans Rally to return |

Winter Park: Veterans Rally to return

Will Bublitz
Winter Park, Colorado

Winter Park, Colorado ” Following intense negotiations over past month, the Salute to American Veterans Rally will be returning to the Fraser Valley in 2009.

In a vote at its Monday meeting, the Winter Park Town Council approved $92,500 in town funding for next year’s veterans rally. That money will go into the Winter Park-Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce’s “Destination Downtown” budget.

With the approval of the town funding, next year’s veterans rally will be held Aug. 14

to 16, 2009 in downtown Winter Park. It will be the third year that the rally has been hosted in eastern Grand County.

Pro-Promotions, the company that handled the rally for the town for the past two years, will manage the Salute to American Veterans Rally in 2009.

In presenting the funding request, Chamber Director Catherine Ross said the chamber’s committee and Pro-Promotions had recently completed their negotiations and successfully “addressed concerns” about the rally. An agreement had also been signed between the chamber and the company. As part of that agreement, any additional funding needed for the rally would come from Pro-Promotions.

Also speaking at Tuesday’s meeting was Jim Wear, Pro-Promotions producer, who thanked the Chamber and Town Council for their continued support of the rally and presented them with a plaque for their help during this year’s event.

Although the town council approved the $92,500 request, the vote by the town council was not unanimous with two of its seven members opposing it. Casting dissenting votes were Vince Turner and Mike Periolat.

Monday’s decision to fund the veterans rally reversed a decision made by the Winter Park Town Council about two months ago. During a Sept. 9 special meeting, the council voted 5-1 “not to invite” Pro Promotions back to produce the annual veterans rally.

The only dissenting vote at the Sept. 9 special meeting was cast by Mayor Jim Myers who insisted the matter be brought back during the council’s next regular meeting. During that meeting, held on Sept. 16, several local businesses objected to the decision, claiming the rally was one of the best events of the summer. Local veterans also argued against its cancellation.

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

This year’s Salute to American Veterans Rally was held the weekend of Aug. 15 in Winter Park, but an unseasonable snowstorm hit the area and forced the event to be shortened. The rally includes the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall and a main street military parade in downtown Winter Park with marching units and hundreds of veterans on motorcycles.

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

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