Chile fest means $2.3M for Pueblo
Chamber estimates people spend between $35 and $40 apiece on the event
In four days, the tents will be up, roads around the Union Avenue Historic District will be closed and the intoxicating smell of roasting chiles will be in the air.
But while as many as 100,000 people are expected to walk through the gates of the Loaf ‘N Jug Chile and Frijoles Festival to look over the bushels of green chile this weekend, it’s greenbacks that the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce hopes will come from all of the activity.
Chamber President Rod Slyhoff said he tries to take a conservative approach when estimating the economic impact of the three-day festival, but said last year’s event generated up to $2.3 million for the community.
He guesses that every dollar spent inside the fence multiplies into the community at a rate of roughly 4.3 percent.
“All we can do is estimate, but we believe that the amount spent on the festival is $35 to $40 per person,” he said.
Slyhoff said the chamber makes a little money off the gate admission and sale in the various beer gardens during the weekend.
But the big winners are local hotels, whose 2,200 rooms are usually booked solid by the time the party starts, Slyhoff said.
Slyhoff said the chamber still is trying to get booking numbers this week, but a new link on its website helps people book hotel rooms in Pueblo and gives folks the opportunity to see what’s available.
Slyhoff said local restaurants, stores and farms benefit, too, from folks eating out during the weekend and buying their chile both at the festival and on the farms.
Slyhoff said the number of vendors on the festival grounds will be about the same as last year, though there will be fewer in some individual categories.
Slyhoff also said it looks like there will be more returning vendors than in previous years.
The 19th annual Chile and Frijoles Festival runs from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $2. Children 12 and younger are free.