Food & Wine a sellout already |

Food & Wine a sellout already

Stewart Oksenhorn

Maybe more people are planning their summers in advance. Maybe appetites for fine food and drink are getting bigger. Or maybe more people are recognizing the unique glory of the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, a three-day feast that unites diners and drinkers, chefs and oenologists.Whatever the reason, passes to this summer’s 18th annual Classic, set for June 9-11, are selling like hot blinis. Make that, sold like hot blinis. As of Wednesday, the Food & Wine had cut off registration for consumers and tradespeople. It was the earliest cut-off in the history of the Classic; last year’s event sold out on April 22.According to Devin Padgett, the special projects producer for Food & Wine magazine, passes sold to consumers and tradespersons make up only 1,500 of the 5,000 passes for the Classic. The balance are reserved for exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors, staff, media and other groups. But those not affiliated with the Classic in any way who are looking to attend this year’s event might have to go hungry.”All calls we get now will just go onto our wait list,” said Padgett. “People are asking about our 2001 registration.”Padgett said that the Classic simply can’t get any bigger in Aspen. For the past six or seven years, the Classic has put a 5,000-person cap on the event, which features cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, trade seminars and the twice-a-day Grand Testings under a tent in Wagner Park.”We can’t get any bigger,” said Padgett, whose association with the Classic brought him to the Roaring Fork Valley full time 12 years ago. “Wagner Park is only so big. There are only so many seminar spaces.”Padgett believes that the early bookings are a reflection of both the success of the Classic and the growth of the summer season in Aspen overall.”I think it just goes to show how the summers are going here,” he said. “The summer’s looking up after a not-so-great ski season. It’s good news and bad news. It’s good news for the town and bad news for the people who are going to be calling over the next eight weeks.”Padgett had more good news for locals looking to participate in this year’s Classic. The event regularly calls on the assistance of more than 750 volunteers to pour, clean, carry, drive and more. There is still space for volunteers; those interested can go to the offices of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association for further information.

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