Aspen Food & Wine is a sellout | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Food & Wine is a sellout

Jeanne McGovernThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – If pass sales for the Food & Wine Magazine Classic are any indication, summer in Aspen is off to a good start. For the first time since 2008, the annual festival is sold out.”We’ve sold out during the festival or right before over the past few years, but to be sold out in advance once again is a great feeling,” said Christina Grdovic, vice president and publisher of Food & Wine Magazine. “Obviously it’s good for our business, and it’s good for Aspen.”According to event organizers, the last passes for the festival sold on Friday, and the wait list continues to grow.”Frankly, we’ve had people call only to be surprised and disappointed that it’s sold out,” said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, adding that this is the first time since 2008 that they have been “forced to turn away significant numbers of paying guests.””People are in disbelief, so I hope they realize that they can’t wait until the last minute next year, as this could be signaling a slow return to the old days.”Tomcich attributes the push in pass sales to the improving economy and the fact that “everyone has been forced to up their game since 2008.” Case in point: the star-studded roster of speakers and presenters slated to appear at the Classic, and the sheer depth of the Food & Wine program.”I think there is more to this year’s lineup,” said Grdovic, noting that names like Michael Symon, Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain are also drawing attention. “There is a lot of talent coming and the program is really, really rich.”Plus, people have a little bit of confidence back. If they did skip a year, they don’t want to miss it again.”Local lodges are experiencing a similar boom in business for Food & Wine weekend. A May 31 report showed Aspen’s overall occupancy approaching 90 percent; Tomcich says it has continued to climb since then. In fact, as of Tuesday, the only remaining hotel rooms, other than a couple of random holes, were at the Aspen Meadows. There were some condominiums still available, as well as plenty of options in Snowmass Village. And every inbound flight from now through Friday is essentially booked to capacity.”It’s going to be a busy weekend in Aspen,” Tomcich said, “It’s a great feeling.”The Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen kicks off Friday and continues through Sunday at locations around town. Christina Grdovic, vice president and publisher of Food & Wine Magazine, will speak on “Food & Wine & Aspen: A Perfect Pairing” at Wednesday’s Aspen Business Luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at the Hotel Jerome.jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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