Re-branding the barbecue festival didn’t happen overnight. For help with the job, event organizers hired Imagine That, a Frisco-based marketing and brand strategy company.
When giving an event like this a makeover, “one of the things to consider is the history that leads up to the event,” said Jeff McElhattan, digital marketing strategist. “What has the public come to expect before? Where might those expectations be missed or strengthened in the new branding effort?”
He also worked with organizers to come up with the right archetype, or personality, for the new event.
“So the Festival in the Park, being focused on fun family events, a lot of food and music, the jester is the main archetype that we chose for that particular brand,” he said.
This was reflected not only in the name, but in the logo, the font, the tagline (“Way more than BBQ”) and the marketing message.
It’s “a fun and whimsical sort of attitude,” McElhattan explained.
For years, the festival focused on bringing high-level barbecue competition to the streets of Dillon. A Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event, it drew competitors from both in and out of state. With the decision to take away the competitive element last year, event organizers decided to expand the food options available. This led event co-director Rob Irvine to investigate the possibility of bringing up food trucks from the Front Range.
He took several trips to Denver, introducing himself to various food trucks and inviting them to the Festival in the Park. Many were interested, he said, but were also concerned about the toll that driving up to Summit County would take on their vehicles. Nonetheless, he recruited several to make the trip, meaning that the vendors at the event will offer food from all over the world, from Polish pierogies to Danish pastries to gourmet Greek, and more.
“There are some fairly exotic cuisines that I think will appeal to people,” Irvine said.
Several barbecue favorites from years past will also return, such as Golden Toad, Wildwood Smokehouse, Five Star Catering and Lost Weekend.
FUN FOR THE FAMILY
In addition to providing more in the way of food, the festival will also be providing more in the way of fun for the family.
“We also have greatly expanded the kids’ entertainment,” said Irvine.
Among the options for kids to amuse themselves will be a bounce house, obstacle course, climbing wall, bungee trampoline, bull ride, shooting gallery and more.
“When I say kids, I mean from 3 to 33, probably,” Irvine said.
Since the location has moved to Dillon’s Town Park, there will be plenty of space for people to spread out, sit down and enjoy the music.
“It’s all going to be done in the grassy park,” said Irvine. “We’ll have picnic tables out on the grass. People can go out and lie down on the grass with a blanket or they can be on a picnic table closer to the stage. It’s going to be very much a family affair kind of thing.”
The music lineup features a range of local, regional and national artists, organized by Roman Moore at Krystal 93.
“We’ve got a great variety and I think the community, both tourists and locals alike, are going to love it,” Moore stated in a press release.
SUPPORTING ROTARY PROGRAMS
The summer festival is a big fundraiser for the Summit County Rotary Club, which supports a number of projects around the county. Visitors at the festival buy Rotary Bucks, which are tickets that can be used to purchase food or time in the kids’ zone. From those sales, 15 percent goes toward the Rotary charity fund, Irvine said.
“It’s a major money maker for Rotary,” Irvine said.
The Rotary is still looking for volunteers to help out at the festival, said volunteer coordinator Stephanie Katz. Volunteers will help out with ticket sales, beer sales and more. While both days are available for volunteering, there is a particular need for volunteers on Saturday, Aug. 9, she said.
Those interested in volunteering can contact the Volunteer Hotline at at (970) 513-3344, email BBQvolunteer@summitrotary.com or go online to www.FestivalinthePark.net and click on Volunteer Info. There will be a volunteer meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 5:30 p.m. at the Dillon Town Park.