Colorado Springs seeks applicants to replace Balloon Classic

September 3, 2014
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Balloons launch Saturday, Aug. 30. 2014, on the first morning of the 38th Annual Colorado Balloon Classic in Memorial Park. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Colorado Springs officially opened the application process Tuesday for an event to replace the Colorado Balloon Classic next Labor Day weekend.

About 250 requests for proposals were sent out to people with whom the city had previous relationships, said Curt DeCapite, a procurement services manager.

The RFP called for a three-day "Large scale special event" or events to take place in the city over Labor Day weekend, with the possibility of being held in future years. The application is open to local and national organizations.

As part of the application, proposals are requested to include an "in-depth description" of the event or events, "how the event(s) will attract visitors or enhance the economy of the city and Pikes Peak region" and the proposed budget and plans for use of city in-kind services and/or cash. They are due to the city by Sept. 22.

The request for proposals comes after the Colorado Balloon Classic announced Aug. 15 that it would not be returning to Colorado Springs in 2015. The annual event completed its 38th festival Monday.

Patsy Buchwald, president and CEO of the organization, said over the weekend that there are multiple ways that a balloon festival could still return to the city next year.

She said that while she is not looking to sell the organization behind the Balloon Classic, she could do so with the right offer. Also, she said, a different organizing team or balloon festival could come in and replace the Colorado Balloon Classic next year.

DeCapite said that an undetermined group of city officials will choose who is selected from the applications and that the event or events selected will not be based solely on how much money they generate.

"It's not all about dollars," he said. "It's all about what's best and the value."

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Contact Stephen Hobbs: 636-0275

Twitter @bystephenhobbs

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