No ice slide for you this year.
The annual Cripple Creek Ice Festival, scheduled for Feb. 5-13, has been canceled due to a pandemic-induced change in special event funding by Cripple Creek City Council.
As of Dec. 1, the city will no longer participate as a financial sponsor in about 15 annual events, including the ice festival, Donkey Derby Days, Top of the World Rodeo and Salute to American Veterans Rally. The city will now only provide sanitation needs, including trash and portable restroom costs, and traffic control, and base the financial support for those services on past or expected attendance numbers.
“For the February event, the city was the title sponsor, and it was a significant hit to their budget,” said Jeff Mosher, special projects director for the City of Cripple Creek. “There wasn’t enough time this year to make up for the sponsorship dollars.”
The pandemic and its ensuing shutdown of Cripple Creek is to blame for the change in the city’s ability to financially sponsor events, Mosher said.
“Casinos are doing great, but the revenue to the city took a significant hit,” Mosher said. “That’s why we’re seeing decisions to change up funding.”
The city will continue to fully fund 4th of July fireworks and a number of small community events, including Toys for Tots, the Cripple Creek-Victor High School graduation and the Pikes Peak Memorial Wall Dedication Ceremony.
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The ice festival, which draws up to 30,000 visitors over two weekends, features teams of ice carvers from around the country competing to transform 300-pound blocks of ice into works of art. It’s a six-figure event, said Mosher, which includes shelling out for blocks of ice and carvers.
“It’s a super expensive event. It’s cheaper for us to buy the ice in Ohio and have it trucked out here than buy from ice companies in Denver,” Mosher said. “We try to cut the cost down.”
Whether the 2023 ice festival happens is anybody’s guess. Event organizers are aware of the need for a title sponsor, and are in talks with one carver who might be able to bring in enough sponsorships to restore the event.
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It’s also unknown whether the other special events affected by the city’s new policy will be able to take place.
“We haven’t heard anything from any of the other events,” Mosher said. “Some are having meetings to see if they can still afford to do it.”
Contact the writer: 636-0270