Frisco’s BBQ contest sees attendance jump 12 percent in 2010 |

Frisco’s BBQ contest sees attendance jump 12 percent in 2010

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

FRISCO – The town’s prayers were answered when Frisco’s 17th annual Colorado BBQ Challenge welcomed 35,000 people to its Main Street festival June 18 and 19. With a 12 percent spike in attendance, Frisco’s signature summer event experienced a record year.

Not too shabby, considering 2009 also reported top numbers. Around 31,000 people attended the barbecue fair last year.

“We’re up 32 percent in two years,” said Suzanne Lifgren, Frisco’s marketing and events director. “We didn’t expect growth because we reduced the advertising budget a little, but it’s not shocking. It’s a pleasant surprise.”

Lifgren said attendance is tracked through ticket purchases. Though the marketing director said she’s uncertain how many tickets remain unspent, she said “we assume it to be less than $1,000 non-usage.”

This is due to retail merchants accepting tickets throughout Frisco, and then redeeming them through the town. Lifgren said this started three years ago.

With so much good food to eat from 84 vendors, it’s no surprise BBQ festival visitors were thirsty as well – 422 gallons of lemonade and 145 kegs of beer were consumed over two days.

“And it wasn’t even a beer festival!” Lifgren said. “It was a hot day.”

The BBQ contest was also a success through its fundraising efforts. Lifgren said its high attendance brought in approximately $72,000 for local nonprofits. Between $35-40,000 was collected for the contest’s primary benefactors – Advocates for Victims of Assault, the Summit County Restaurant Association, High Country Conservation Center, Mountain Mentors, Women of the Summit and the Summit Independent Business Alliance, with an additional $32,000 for its nonprofits vending on the street.

This was also the first year Frisco’s popular summer event was “zero-waste,” and event planners took the time to consider how to reduce and remove trash, from food scraps to napkins.

According to Lifgren, the town was able to divert 70 percent of its garbage from the landfill, and then compost or recycle it. Its goal was to send at least 60 percent of the barbecue festival’s trash to recycling and composting facilities.

SDN reporter Julie Sutor contributed to this article. SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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