Frisco Town Council ends Fourth of July fireworks and BBQ Challenge to explore other entertainment options

Frisco BBQ Challenge, June 17th: Main Street festivalgoers. The festival will end in 2023.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

The Frisco BBQ Challenge has been completed after months of review and discussion. Fourth of July fireworks will now be over.

Frisco Town Council met Tuesday Oct. 25 to talk about other entertainment possibilities and not to pursue fireworks displays permits.

Fireworks were requested by the community last year. The Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee was then able to supply them. Permit refusedIt cited traffic impacts, wildlife and watersheds in addition to public safety. It would be very difficult for 2023 to get a permit, according to the Town Council.



“It’s not up to us,”Andy Held, who is also a member on the Town Council said. “… That’s kind of a waste of staff’s time.”

But, it was expressed interest by the Town Council to improve it parade for Fourth of July, though final details are still to be determined. The town released information that suggested possible options such as increasing the number of parade participants, holding a block party featuring performers, hiring well-known artists for concerts and perhaps adding a boat parade.



Frisco BBQ Challenge, formerly known as the Colorado BBQ Challenge was founded in 1997. Reduplication this June to give it a hometown feel and focus on the barbecue. A variety of attractions such as mechanical bulls, bouncy houses, demonstrations by chefs, and many others, were eliminated.

According to a press release, Council discussed replacing the challenge by a one-night event similar to Music on Main’s revival with a notable musician.

Vanessa Agee (communications director for the town) informed the council that “back to basics”Version couldn’t find enough vendors. Her explanation included that the inflation and gas prices as well as the sales of equipment during the pandemic as well as cancellations at the last minute were factors.

According to a Report by the StaffIn 2019, the town spent 79% less on marketing than it did in 2019. Agee said that although attendance decreased, it wasn’t enough to pay for the amount of vendors. It led to long lines, and food shortages. Agee indicated that vendor problems will probably continue.

“There was a lot of pent up demand,”Agee. “They came, and some were disappointed.”

Town Council member Lisa Holenko said she doesn’t see the advantage to the festival because of the expenses. According to a staff report 2019, the 2019 expense for next year was $107,844, which included a donation of $73,805 for non-profits who provide services at events. Next was $36,956 for 2022. It isn’t a revenue-generating event, according to the report.

Holenko stated, “Bake isn’t what attracts tourists to our community. It’s outdoor recreation.”

“It doesn’t show Frisco in its best light,” Holenko said. “It is definitely not environmentally friendly in any way, both from what is being consumed to the garbage to the grease on the roads. … If it were healthy for the town, I would be in support of it. I don’t think it is healthy for the town.”

Held agreed and said many businesses aren’t happy about the festival.

“I feel like we way outgrew what the BBQ Challenge was,”He spoke.

The session allowed you to examine the survey’s results. Survey about the barbecue challenge. Similar to last year. Discussion about the future people said they wanted it to stay.  

There were 443 people who responded. The majority of respondents were Frisco residents at 52.98%, while 18.48% own second homes and 18.71% have businesses. 72.78% stated that the Frisco BBQ Challenge would be back.

60.55% thought that the festival had a positive or extremely good impact on their community. It had an insignificant influence on 23.56%, 15.89% thought it had a detrimental or harmful effect.

Business owners thought that Frisco BBQ Challenge hadn’t had any impact on their businesses at 42.47%. It had an impact on business for 27.4%, and 16.44% felt it had a detrimental effect.

“We’re going to hear a lot of blowback on it,” council member Rick Ihnken said. “But since I came to council, I’ve heard zero businesses ever say a positive word about it. I was flabbergasted by that for years. We’ve sat down and talked about this for way too much time. I can’t wrap my head around why it is not meeting its intended need, or its intended purpose, other than having fun.”

Mayor Hunter Mortensen said he did have fun and loves the opening night concert held on Thursdays before the festival begins.

“I hope we won’t have an economic future where the community will be begging us to have more events,” Mortensen said.

Ihnken mentioned that a replacement would be necessary since they’re pivoting away from what he called Frisco’s “signature event.”Some people suggested switching to other cuisines. However, this idea was never discussed.

“It will be a poor surrogate, and they will just compare it against that,”Agee. “It will not compare favorably.”

Frisco Town Council ends Fourth of July fireworks and BBQ Challenge to explore other entertainment options

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