Breckenridge to require permitting for virtual events

The upper portion of Latasha Dunston’s street art mural is pictured July 19 in Breckenridge. On Tuesday, Aug. 11, Breckenridge Town Council passed an ordinance amendment on first reading to permit street art displays, or temporary art on the surface of a town street, in the same fashion as murals.
Taylor Sienkiewicz /

BRECKENRIDGE — The town of Breckenridge is moving forward with an ordinance amendment that will require certain virtual events to carry a special event permit.

During Tuesday’s work session on Aug. 11, Breckenridge Town Council agreed to amend the code to include virtual events as part of the town’s definition of an event. The town also added a definition for street art in the special event ordinance, which is proposed to be permitted through the same process as a mural. The amendments to the ordinance were passed by council on first reading. 

While many events have shifted from in-person to virtual, they currently do not require event permits under town code. The amendments are meant to adapt to changing event formats. 

“(Virtual events) are more popular now in COVID times, so we want to make sure — given the fact that they do have actual impacts to our community — that we’re including them in our event requirements,” Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes said. “So this would be an event that meets the same criteria of an entirely physically held event as far as the number of people that are included and the purpose of the event and the potential for impact on the community.”

Haynes explained that the town’s definition of a virtual event has an in-person as well as a virtual component.

In addition to a traditional event, the amendment means that a virtual event is subject to the event permitting process if it is primarily for entertainment, expects at least 50 participants, generally invites the public or a substantial portion of the public, and is expected to have a visual, noise or environmental impact, or will disrupt the normal routine of the community or a neighborhood.

Permits issued under the special events ordinance also can allow for street art, or temporary art on the surface of a street. 

Council member Jeffrey Bergeron explained that the reason the permits are needed is because virtual events have been occurring in public places such as town open space. Bergeron said that for people who are leisurely recreating on open space trails, it would be an issue if an unofficial virtual-based event was taking place, such as a race, which typically has racers run in person and then posts their times to a virtual leader board.

While enforcement might be difficult, Bergeron said town staff is confident many previous event organizers are likely to follow town processes when they organize new events.

One of those new events — Show & Shine, which would include a display of cars Sept. 5 over Labor Day weekend — was given the green light to move forward by council. The cars would be added to Walkable Main and vehicle owners would be required to preregister and stay for the duration of the event. Haynes said that while the maximum amount of cars allowed in the show will be 40, the actual number of cars will depend on participation interest.

Hal Vatcher, member of High Country Cars & Coffee, met with a member of the Breckenridge Tourism Office to discuss the event. Vatcher said in a text message that the Sept. 5 event would include vintage cars and trucks as well as American and foreign sports cars. Vatcher noted in the council Q&A that he would be interested in organizing a neighborhood cruise event, as well. 

Town staff also provided a list of events that have been canceled due to COVID-19 as well as updates on events that will have format changes, including the Great Rubber Duck Race, which is moving to a virtual format. The Oktoberfest street festival and Breckenridge Wine Classic were noted as recently canceled events.

Canceled Events As Of Aug. 5
  • Breckenridge Food and Wine
  • Always MT Time Kickball Tournament
  • Breck Epic 2020
  • Breckenridge Hogfest
  • Breckenridge Yoga Festival (Beaver Run)
  • Breckenridge Oktoberfest (street festival)
  • Flaming Foliage Race
  • Breckenridge Wine Classic
  • Summit Foundation Parade of Homes
  • Breckenridge Strings, Ciders & Sours
  • Fire Prevention Week Open House

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