The 2013 Colorado BBQ Challenge brought in the highest ticket sales in the event’s 20-year history, organizers announced.
“Hogback” ticket sales totaled $475,006, including $6,500 in tickets purchased online before the event started.
“From beginning to end the weekend was almost perfect,” town manager Bill Efting said. “The weather cooperated, there were lots of people in town and lots of people did good business.”
About 30,000 people attended Frisco’s signature event held June 13 through 15.
“Turnout was great but not overwhelming and I think that made for a really great experience,” said Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson.
The attendance was down about 9 percent from last year. Frisco’s marketing manager Suzanna Lifgren said this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“We think that means people are staying longer, and our goal is for people to have a rich and rewarding experience in Frisco,” Lifgren said. “The longer they stay the more likely they are to fall in love with Frisco.”
The town of Frisco gives a large portion of funds raised through the barbecue to nonprofit partners. The town council presented $45,189 in checks to nonprofit leaders at its meeting Tuesday evening.
Town representatives said they’re pleased the event not only brings in extra money for local businesses, but also helps out local organizations working to make a difference in the community.
“It’s a nice platform for nonprofits to get some good input into their balances,” said Councilwoman Kathleen Bartz.
Barbecue organizers said 376 volunteers provided the backbone for the event. In a town whose population is about 3,000 that equates to about 10 percent of the population donating its time and services, Lifgren said.
“Granted, we get volunteers (from) throughout Summit County, but if you think about how much of the population is required to run this event, we could never do it without the volunteers,” Lifgren said. “They are crucial to our success.”
The barbecue challenge raised $23,519 in sales tax revenue on the street and brought lodging occupancy up to 85 percent. $13,669 hogbacks were redeemed at local merchants throughout the weekend, nearly double the 2012 amount.
“Basically hogbacks become the currency for the weekend, so if you have a few left in your pocket on Saturday, you can use them throughout the weekend in Frisco,” Lifgren said.
Although the Colorado BBQ Challenge helps bring in funds to local businesses and nonprofits, it’s not a huge money maker for the town itself, said Lifgren. She said she expects the town to just about break even.
The goal for the event from the marketing perspective, she said, is to highlight what makes Frisco a tight-knit community.
“It shows our visitors that we are not just a geographically cool place, we are really characteristically a small town — and we value that highly, “ she said.
Councilwoman Bartz said she’s happy to share Frisco’s charm with visitors from around the country.
“We have barbecuers coming from other states and they love it here,” she said. “No matter who you talk to they just gush about Frisco, so it’s fabulous PR for us.”