Winefest takes new tack on crowd control: Cap those tickets
Procrastinators beware: Late arrivals to Saturday’s Festival in the Park, the signature event for the annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, were stopped by a sign near the front gate announcing “Event sold out.”
What? Sold out?
How could that be?
For the first time in the event’s 24-year history, ticket sales this year were capped. While a cap of 6,000 tickets (plus the 350 VIP tent admissions) into tree-shaded Riverbend Park might not seem like much, you couldn’t get one if you waited until Saturday morning.
“We sold out late yesterday,” said Cassidee Shull, executive director for the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology, during a brief interlude Saturday prior to the gates opening. “We sold out of everything – the dinners, the wine bus, the VIP tent.”
That eye-catching red-and-canary yellow at the front gate warning “No Tickets Available” revealed how much this event, again this year sponsored by Alpine Bank, has grown in its two-plus decades and was a very public announcement that Colorado’s most-populer wine-oriented get-together no longer strictly is a local event.
“We really want to people to pre-plan their Winefest,” said Shull, reflecting the oft-heard comments about potential over-crowding. “If we can get them in the habit of buying their tickets ahead of time, it will keep this a fun experience for everyone.”
Shull said last year’s record attendance at Winefest fell just short of 6,000, a level that seemed just about the max in the comfort zone for both wineries and attendees.
At times, particularly during the mid-day crush, the lines at the winery booths get long and a bit pushy as winelovers, helped along by a little inebriation augmented with a bit of dehydration, jostle for their favorite pours. Putting a lid on tickets sales may help keep some of the crowding under control.
Next year’s Colorado Mountain Winefest, the 25th annual, is set for Sept. 15-18. Just sayin’.