Food & Wine has dibs on dates for its annual Classic
Foodies and winos intent on making the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen a regular part of their year can now make their plans several years in advance.For the first time, the organizers of the event, held annually in early- to mid-June and seen as the kick-off to the summer season, have locked up arrangements more than a year in advance.”We’re trying to plan our dates out for five or six years,” said Chris Grdovic, marketing director for Food & Wine Magazine, who oversees the planning of the Classic. “We’ve chosen the dates for the next five years, and we’re working with the Aspen Chamber Resort Association to make sure these dates aren’t taken” by another major event, she said.The long-term planning is a response to the increasingly busy summer season in the Aspen area.”We’re finding that the summer season gets busier and busier, and the summer gets earlier and earlier,” said Grdovic. “Other events are looking to book that weekend now.”We were pioneers in coming that early in the summer. The good and the bad news is that now everybody wants that weekend. The main thing is, we don’t want to come to town one day and find out that someone’s booked an entire hotel for its national sales conference.”In past years, Food & Wine Magazine booked the Classic internally several years ahead of time. The organizers waited, however, until after each year’s Classic to start working with hotels on locking up rooms for the 4,000 or so participants for the next year’s event. But when Grdovic came to Aspen in October to meet with hotel sales managers, she found that they were interested in thinking long-term.”We’re coming to work on the 2000 Classic, and everyone wants to talk about 2001, 2002,” she said.This year’s Classic, the 18th annual event, is set for June 9-11.Grdovic said that setting the dates years in advance won’t result in any significant changes for the Classic. It also doesn’t mean that there have been any serious discussions about moving the event out of Aspen.”I can’t say that people don’t talk about it,” said Grdovic of the possibility of the Food & Wine Classic finding another home. “But there haven’t been big plans to move it. Everyone’s happy with it. Everyone agrees it’s a spectacular setting, and that’s why it’s so successful and such a destination event for people.”
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