Nick Babiak, a Denver area youngster who this spring enthusiastically, but unsuccessfully, lobbied for the peach to be named the state fruit, will become the Honorary “Peach Festival King” in Palisade in August.
Juliann Adams, director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, told the Palisade Tourism Advisory Board at its meeting on July 8 that Nick, his parents, sisters, and “a ton of friends” will be coming to the festival. This year’s festival runs Aug. 14, 15, 16. Nick, who was 10 years old at the time, lobbied the state legislature to designate the Palisade peach as the state fruit. However, Nick, who will be going into the fifth grade, met resistance from farmers who raise other crops, including Rocky Ford cantaloupes. “That mystified Babiak because, as he pointed out, cantaloupes aren’t even fruits; they’re vegetables –– a member of the squash family,” the High Country News reported.
In other business, Town Administrator Rich Sales told the tourism board that the general manager of the Grand Junction Rockies baseball team wants to hold a “Palisade Night” in Grand Junction. Adams and board members proposed providing a promotional table to display Palisade wines and peach products. The tentative date for the night is Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Sports shooting complex
Town Administrator Sales reported on progress in development of a sports shooting and education complex proposed at the former Cameo and Xcel Energy sites east of Palisade. “The project is moving ahead,” he said, but, “It’s not a done deal yet,” he cautioned. The town is backing the proposal to seek potential economic development. The complex would be operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Sales said the town may take ownership of the land for a period of time, although no town funds would be involved. The town and state agencies are working to seek grant funding totaling $3 million. Sales noted that the appraisal for purchase of the land and the environmental impact study have not yet been received.
Marketing budget, Byway
The tourism board voted in favor of freeing up $1,200 to $1,500 from the earned media budget to work on marketing projects. In further discussion, Chamber Director Adams reported that the Palisade Fruit & Wine Byway committee has been reactivated within the chamber and will promote events to highlight the Byway and will seek funds to pay annual fees for the signage. Adams said fund raising ideas include a bus tour of the Byway.
Adams reported that the 4th of July parade and old fashioned game day at Memorial Park, sponsored by the town and the chamber, went very well. The park was packed with about 300 people, she said. Adams drew laughter when she reported on the games, saying, “Adults can get pretty aggressive in musical chairs.” The cakewalk was so popular, Adams said, that there was talk of adding a peachwalk at the Peach Festival with peach pie and cobbler prizes.
Town Administrator Sales reported that revenues at the Bluegrass Festival in June were, “Significantly better than last year.” However, expenses are still coming in, he said. Asked by the board about next year’s event and whether promoters might take it over, he said he hasn’t talked to the town board yet. In the meantime, he is thinking about rotating town staff for the event or perhaps hiring a person to handle coordination. Sales described problems with an electric generator at the Bluegrass Festival. He said the town staff finally shut it down, and leased a generator.
Chamber Director Adams reported on planning for this year’s Peach Festival, Aug. 14-16, plus the Sunday Market. Adams said fiber arts will be moved out of the Peach Festival this year and will create a new festival. It will be held on Oct. 11 at Memorial Park. Adams said it is too hot in August for a fiber festival. October “will be the best time of year for it,” she said. Cassidee Shull, tourism board chair, reported on planning for the 23rd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, Sept. 18-21. Shull said 1,100 tickets have been sold so far for Saturday’s “Festival in the Park” highlight at Palisade’s Riverbend Park. The tourism board agreed to seek and archive video featuring local tourism destinations and attractions to have on hand when the media request coverage. Administrator Sales recalled that he had to scramble recently to find in one day local tourism video for broadcast on the Today Show.
Peach Town News
Chamber Director Adams invited board members to view the new Peach Town News website, which is published by the chamber. Adams said volunteers for the website include Stan Stephens, webmaster; co-editors Bill Hoffmann and Betsy McLaughlin, and contributor Brenda Evers. Adams said the site has received “an amazing amount of feedback.” By June 13, it had over 500 Facebook Friends, and 1,700 page views, she said.
In other business, Teri Cavanagh, CEO of Cobb & Associates, which is the marketing firm contracted with by the board, reported on marketing projects. In addition, board member Brooke Webb offered observations on new marketing trends that the board could follow. Trends include “high-end eco-tourism,” such as climbing and retreats in Moab. Trends also include yoga, camping, biking, and river packages, as well as wine tourism. Webb also noted that Delicious Orchard now offers camping on the farm.
The board considered local options. Jean Tally, board member, suggested that this trend in “glamping” is a business opportunity for a local entrepreneur. Glamping is defined as glamorous camping. The July 8 meeting was held at the civic center. The board agreed to hold its August meeting on Tuesday Aug. 12 at 4 p.m., prior to a work session with the board of trustees at 5 p.m.