The Palisade Peach Festival in August brought an estimated $1.7 million in direct economic impact to the Grand Valley, Juliann Adams, director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, reported to the Palisade Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) at its meeting on September 9 at the Civic Center. The chamber sponsors the annual festival and Adams is co-chair of TAB.
Topics at the meeting also included the current and this year’s projected collections of the town lodging fee. TAB’s budget for marketing expenses is funded through the fee. At a special meeting on Aug. 26, TAB agreed to trim this year’s budget in light of lower than expected lodging fee revenue.
At the Sept. 9 meeting, Jean Tally, co-owner of the Wine Country Inn in Palisade, reported on lodging fees collections at the inn, and also predicted, “It looks like we’ll have a good September and a good October.”
Board members also heard updates on the 23rd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, scheduled for September 18-21. Publicity includes articles in Forbes magazine about Palisade as a wine destination.
Adams told TAB board members that almost all 3,000 lodging rooms in the Grand Valley were sold during Peach Fest. Adams also said that she heard, ironically, that a lot of wine was sold during the peach festival.
The estimated 8,400 out of area festival goers included 22 RVs and two groups of German visitors, she said. All in all, “They were on a buying trip.”
Wine Festival, Sept. 18-21
Cassidee Shull, chair of TAB, updated the board on the upcoming 23rd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest set for September 18-21. The “Festival in the Park” takes place on Saturday, Sept. 20, in Palisade’s Riverbend Park. Shull is the executive director of the festival’s sponsor, CAVE, Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology.
The CAVE website describes the festival as “the state’s largest and oldest wine festival featuring over 50 Colorado wineries, live music, a grape stomp, live demonstrations & seminars and a crowd of over 5,500!”
Shull said festival information is available at the website www.winecolorado.org/events/mountain–winefest/. Also, brochures are available at the chamber office and at business locations. Shull also said the Grand Valley Magazine offers stories about the festival, as well as ads with discounts.
Shull also reported that Forbes business magazine has articles about Palisade’s wine attractions and spotlights Palisade as “the next wine destination.” Shull said it is “awesome press.”
Palisade as a wine destination is featured in the Forbes article, “Five New Destinations For Wine Lovers.” The others are Paso Robles, California; Middleburg, Virginia; Woodinville, Washington; and Jamesport, New York. Shull said the Dallas Daily News also featured Palisade in articles about wine destinations.
Board member Brant Harrison, area grower, asked how many peach pies he should plan to prepare for wine fest. Shull said an estimated 5,800 people are expected to attend. Harrison noted that he provided 970 peach pies at the Peach Festival.
Teri Cavanagh, chief executive officer of Cobb Marketing and Communications, asked the board for a name for a new page on the town tourism website, www.palisadetourism.com/. The news media, and the visitors, will be able to obtain information, photos, and video at the new page.
After several suggestions were made, Tally proposed “Media Gallery.” Cavanagh said, “I love it!” Cavanagh also said the new page would also have a link to the Peach Town News website.
Also, Cavanagh reported a positive budget balance.
French press visit
Cavanagh also reported on the recent visit of several French mountain biking press representatives to the Grand Valley. At its August meeting, TAB allocated $1,000 toward expenses to support the visit. Cavanagh said they represent premier European mountain biking media. The visit was also supported by Grand Junction and Fruita. The visit means, “The Grand Valley gets exposure in Europe,” Cavanagh said at the August meeting.
At the September meeting, Cavanagh praised the help provided during the visit by TAB board members Rondo Buecheler and Juliann Adams, as well as Scott Winans, of Rapid Creek Cycles and Sports, in Palisade.
Cavanagh also observed, “It was heartening to see the collaboration between the cities.”
Cavanagh said the French press representatives want to come back. Their visit included a ride along the Palisade Rim Trail. Next time, she said, they also want to take a boat trip on the Colorado River. Board member Rondo Buecheler, co-owner of Rapid Creek Cycles and Sports, said he could easily provide a river trip.
Cavanagh told TAB, “Thank you, and it was great. You guys did a great job.” Adams noted that grower Harrison provided peach pies for the French cyclists. Adams said the visitors finally agreed, “Okay, Palisade peaches are the best in the world!”
Chair Shull reported that the Fruit and Wine Byway map is available on line at no charge at the websites for CAVE, the town tourism site, and the chamber of commerce. Also, CAVE has 40 “giant” Fruit & Wine Byway signs that vendors along the Byway are welcome to use, and which can also be used during festivals.
Ron Quarles, Palisade community development director, was introduced. Quarles will staff the meetings.
Board member Felix Iovanni reported that the Snowcap Coal Company property “is a mess.” The property is part of the proposed Cameo sports shooting range site, east of Palisade. Quarles said he would contact county code enforcement.
The next TAB meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 7, noon, at the Palisade Civic Center. Topics expected include marketing ideas, plans for 2015, and a review of board member terms.