Aspen Wintersköl parade organizers mull event start time
December 1, 2008
ASPEN ” The Aspen Chamber Resort Association is turning to the public for input on the start time for January’s annual Wintersköl parade in hopes of boosting participation in the event.
The parade has traditionally started at 1 p.m., but last winter, organizers pushed back the parade start to 2 p.m., to no real avail. One option is moving the event up to a noon start, which is the traditional start time for the Aspen’s popular Fourth of July procession, also organized by the ACRA.
“The participation has dwindled over the years,” said Debbie Braun, ACRA president and CEO. “We’re just brainstorming right now on how to get more participation ” parade entries and spectators.”
Parents of young children tell the chamber that 1 to 3 p.m. is sacrosanct nap time for toddlers, which may make a noon start more appealing, Braun mused.
The ACRA also approached the Aspen Ski and Snowboard Club about what sort of start time could lure its participation, as the club boasts hundreds of young members. But, Braun said, the chamber was told that because Saturday, Jan. 10 is a race day for the club, the kids will be on the slopes regardless.
For the past couple of years, a lot of potential spectators were on the slopes, she added.
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“It snowed for the last two years,” she said. “Major powder.”
One year, the ACRA contemplated skipping the parade altogether, but the chamber was vilified for the suggestion, Braun recalled.
There has even been mention this time around of holding the parade in the evening, since the Wintersköl fireworks take place over Aspen Mountain on Saturday night, Braun said. Making an evening parade even more fitting, this year’s Wintersköl theme is “Powder days and stellar nights” ” a nod to 2009’s designation as the International Year of Astronomy by the United Nations.
An evening procession would leave the day free for skiing (though other Sköl activities take place during the day on Saturday) and an after-dark parade offers opportunities for lighted floats and spectators waving glow sticks. On the other hand, it’s considerably colder after the sun goes down.
“I think, logistically, night is impossible,” Braun concluded.
This week’s Aspen Times online poll asks readers what time they’d like the parade to start. The options: noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. or other. The ACRA will pay attention to the results, Braun said.
The 2009 Wintersköl celebration takes place Jan. 8 to 11. For more on the event, go to http://www.aspenchamber.org and click on Calendars and Events.