Downtown News and Blog

25 People Who Helped Build Downtown

August 23, 2016 Written by

Published in Downtown News and Blog

Downtown is a system.

Made up of buildings, sidewalks, streets and parking structures—steel and glass, cement, trees and light posts. But downtown’s most important element is people.

When the Downtown Alliance was founded in 1991, Salt Lake City was a starkly different place. Crossroads Mall and ZCMI, two large enclosed shopping malls bustled, but our residential population was decreasing, many parts of downtown were blighted and Main Street was failing. The Utah Jazz still played in the Accord Arena, within the walls of the Salt Palace Convention Center. And where our stunning library now stands there was a courthouse and jail.

The Salt Palace as we know it was just a sparkle in the eye of Rick Davis, president of the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Boyer Company was completing the One Utah Center on the corner of Main Street and 200 South, but there was no Gallivan Center. In fact, there was no TRAX, or Wells Fargo Building, no 222 South Main and old rail lines covered the future home of The Gateway.

People—through their creative energy, sense of community, love of art and entrepreneurial spirit—have built this downtown. As the Downtown Alliance celebrates our silver anniversary, this magazine celebrates the people and partnerships that have helped to change the face of our evolving urban center over the past quarter of a century.

Undoubtedly, this article will miss some important folks who have made major contributions. For that we apologize. It is hard to think of downtown Salt Lake City and not recognize the vision of long-time Salt Lake Tribune publisher Jack Gallivan who started our community down our Olympic quest in 1964 and championed the construction of the Salt Palace. But many of Jack Gallivan’s achievements came before 1991. The same might be said of Maurice Abravanel, Ted Wilson, Palmer DePaulis and thousands of others. An article dedicated to regional movers and shakers might also include such luminaries as Scott Anderson, Mitt Romney and Gov. Jon Huntsman. We recognize their incredible contributions to our community and deep dedication to the state of Utah. There are hundreds of other people we could have included as well.

The 25 people and organizations included here are just some of downtown’s brightest champions from the last quarter century—people who have contributed their passion, talent and fortunes to building a better city. We appreciate and support our partners, colleagues and friends who have worked every day, for decades, to build a better city. As we celebrate our 25th birthday as an organization, we turn our attention outwards to the many people who have made downtown what it is today.

1. Natalie Gochnour
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When asked about her greatest loyalties, Natalie Gochnour might mention her family, her church, Real Salt Lake, and her beloved University of Utah where she serves as associate dean of the David Eccles Business School and director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. But she is first and always a Salt Laker and her loyalty to downtown has shaped the last ten years of her life as certainly as Natalie has shaped our ever rising skyline.

Gochnour’s mind and eloquence were the guiding forces behind Downtown Rising, a business-led initiative that prioritized development for Utah’s capital city. Started in 2006 and launched in 2007 Downtown Rising gave voice to our aspirations as an urban center. She used the momentum of City Creek Center’s construction to inspire a whole new generation of development and emotional connection to Utah’s capital city. The legacy of Downtown Rising includes brick and mortar projects like the new Eccles Theater, regional rail and a corridor of high-density housing connecting downtown with the University of Utah. More importantly, it includes a renewed sense of community spirit that will carry downtown through the next decades.

2. Lane Beattie
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For 13 years, Beattie has led the Downtown Alliance as President and CEO bringing his years of experience as a realtor, developer, president of the Utah Senate, and the state’s chief Olympic officer. Beattie’s tutelage has been critical to projects ranging from City Creek Center to moving the North Temple Viaduct; from TRAX construction to the GREENbike system and from homeless initiatives to building a convention center hotel. His leadership shapes the Downtown Alliance and the broader community.

Everything Beattie touches is improved by his insight, negotiation skills and ability to bring people together. He is not just the president of the Downtown Alliance, he is also downtown’s biggest cheerleader and advocate. Beattie can move mountains with a single phone call, handshake or smile. And his love for downtown has translated to tangible results for Utah’s urban center during his leadership over the past thirteen years.

3. Vasilios Priskos
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Nobody knows more about the history of downtown structures and parcels than Vasilios Priskos, the founder of InterNet Properties. As a young Greek immigrant, Priskos grew up in the shadow of skyscrapers working for his family’s restaurant: the Royal Eatery on Main Street and 400 South. As a major landowner and dealmaker, his commitment to the urban fabric of our city is apparent in places like Whiskey Street and Café Molise, both housed in building he owns. One of his greatest downtown contributions is the rehabilitation of the historic Salt Lake Tribune building on Main Street as a leading edge educational campus for Neumont University. This project retains one of downtown's key historic structures and supports revitalization in the core, bringing full-time resident students and jobs into the city.

4. Scott Beck
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As perhaps the greatest salesman our city has ever known, Scott Beck’s enthusiasm for downtown is contagious. As president of Visit Salt Lake, Beck has built on the legacy of previous convention bureau leaders Dianne Binger and Rick Davis to create an unparalleled sales and marketing organization for our community. Visit Salt Lake supports all of Salt Lake County, but promotes downtown as the site of the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center and the vast majority of Salt Lake County’s hotels, restaurants and bars. Beck’s passion and dedication are a critical element to downtown’s success as a top emerging convention market, a point that will be underscored this summer when Salt Lake City hosts the American Society of Association Executives, bringing thousands of associations, their senior leaders and meeting planners, to our urban center.

5. Bob Farrington
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The founder of the Downtown Alliance, Farmers Market, Live Green, Lights On! and Salt Lake City’s First Night, Bob Farrington’s contributions trace their origins to the very start of the our 25 year history. Farrington was recruited to Salt Lake City from San Antonio where he had served as the director of the Downtown Owners Association of San Antonio. His leadership at the Alliance brought people together, creating alliances and a voice for the diverse business interests and constituencies that make up our urban center. His gracious spirit, astute judgment and planning background made the Alliance the authoritative voice for downtown’s evolution and development. His advocacy continued in his role as Salt Lake City’s economic development director, adjunct professor of planning at the University of Utah and private practice at Farrington Community, Planning and Development, a consulting firm he owns with his brother Phil.

6. Tom Guinney
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Gastronomy opened the New Yorker in 1978 in the rehabilitated New York Hotel, setting the standard for fine dining in Salt Lake City for decades to come. Market Street Grill and Oyster Bar followed shortly after as Guinney and his partners John Williams and Thomas Seig acquired dilapidated buildings throughout downtown and renovated them into architectural treasures. The old Salt Lake City High School on Pierpont Ave became Baci Trattoria and Café Pierpont, and the Salt Lake Hardware Building, Ford Building and Axis Building were all renovated into historic office and meeting space. Guinney’s influence on downtown includes a commitment to historic renovation, civic pride and laying the foundation for downtown’s current dining renaissance.

7. President Gordon B. Hinckley
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Perhaps more than any other person, Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has shaped present-day downtown, especially the blocks north of 100 South. In addition to recreating downtown’s urban landscape, his commitment to breaking down religious barriers left a legacy much greater than mere buildings or plazas.

As Church President, Hinckley oversaw the renovation of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, construction of the LDS Conference Center and development of City Creek Center. President Hinckley understood the importance of a vibrant city center and the role of the Church as the community’s founding organization.

When President Hinckley passed away in 2008, the Salt Lake Tribune wrote: “Hinckley never lost sight of the importance of Salt Lake City as the church's headquarters. He built goodwill by opening the Tabernacle on Temple Square to interfaith groups, by creating an Inner City Mission to help people find their way out of poverty, illness and addiction, and by contributing to the restoration of the Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleine and Westminster College of Salt Lake City.”

8. Bishop H. David Burton
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If President Hinkley was the visionary architect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints downtown plans, H. David Burton, was the general contractor. Bishop Burton served as the Church’s Presiding Bishop for seventeen years, and his influence for good can be felt on project large and small, tangible and intangible across our community.

Bishop Burton oversaw the construction of City Creek Center to create what industry experts have called “an outstanding example of visionary architectural achievement in sustainability and innovative design.” The transformation of these two critical downtown blocks encouraged other developments up and down Main Street, leading to a downtown renaissance over the past several years.

Bishop Burton’s influence on downtown extends far beyond a single development. As the Presiding Bishop, he oversaw the Church’s humanitarian efforts, including care for homeless and commitments to Utah’s cultural and artistic life. Bishop Burton was also one of the original organizing voices that created the Downtown Alliance. As an emeritus General Authority of the LDS Church, his influence for good continues to build a stronger, more inclusive and beautiful city.

9. The Miller Family
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The Miller Family’s impact on downtown Salt Lake City has been significant, not only in magnitude—the Vivint Smart Home Arena takes up a full city block and attracts more than 1 million people to downtown every year—but also in terms of personal commitment.

Larry and Gail Miller opened the Delta Center in 1991, the same year the Downtown Alliance was founded. Miller Sports and Entertainment also opened Megaplex Movies at The Gateway in 2001. But the couple’s life downtown goes back to their days as students at West High when downtown served as a backdrop to their courtship.

After Larry passed away in 2009, Gail Miller renewed her commitment to downtown, buying a condo in the city center, stepping up as the first private contributor to the new Eccles Theater and serving with former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis on the Homeless Services Site Evaluation Committee last year. She remains committed to downtown as the Miller Organization launches their plans to transform the Vivint Smart Home Arena into a cutting-edge arena, suitable for today’s NBA.

The Miller’s remarkable influence extends far beyond downtown Salt Lake City, with businesses across several western states and philanthropic endeavors throughout the region. But home court will always be in downtown.

10. Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz
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As the most prominent Utah Jazz Player of all time, “The Mailman” Karl Malone spent 18 seasons with the Jazz and represents a golden age in Utah basketball for many fans. Karl and his teammate John Stockton led the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances, electrifying downtown Salt Lake City – thousands camped outside of the arena to cheer them on. Malone scored the second most career points in NBA history and holds the record for most free throws attempted and made. There is a reason Karl Malone is one of the few people to have a downtown street named in his honor.

Today’s Jazz players carry on the Stockton to Malone legacy, with a strong work ethic, commitment to team play and esprit de corp that represents the best of Utah. Downtown is proud to be the home of the Jazz, recognizing the indelible commitment the individual players and the organization make to our city’s core.

11. Dee Dee Coradini
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As mayor, Dee Dee Coradini left a string of accomplishment that forever changed downtown. As a committed Salt Lake champion she helped bring the Olympics to Utah and worked closely with partners to encourage development and change.

As Salt Lake City’s first female mayor, Dee Dee Coradini was a trailblazer in more ways than one. Perhaps more than any other mayor in recent memory, Dee Dee partnered with the private sector to encourage development of Utah’s capital city. Economic development was a key value. She supported removing outdated railroad ties to create The Gateway, built City Creek Park and facilitated the creation of Main Street Plaza by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fulfilling plans originally laid out in the 1960’s Second Century Plan. She also supported the early creation of the Downtown Alliance, giving voice to business leaders and property owners to help shape the future of Utah’s capital city for years to come.

12. Rocky Anderson
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Mayor Anderson is driven by principle and a deep-seated commitment to live by his moral compass. His values inform everything he does—so it’s no surprise that one of Salt Lake City’s greatest architectural jewels came from his vision and leadership in the Moshe Safdi designed Salt Lake City Public Library that replaced an aging criminal justice center.

Working with his friend and planning director Bob Goldsmith, Mayor Anderson built a community that reflects the progressive nature of Utah’s Capital City. He founded the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival with musician Jerry Floor, and built a close working partnership with SLOC president Mitt Romney to host the successful 2002 Olympic Winter Games, centered on downtown Salt Lake City. Mayor Anderson left a legacy of sustainability and social justice that continues to shape the city he loves.

13. Ralph Becker
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Mayor Becker’s planning background and commitment to environmental sustainability influenced everything from the construction of the nation’s first ever net zero Public Safety Building to enhanced bike infrastructure throughout the city and the launch of GREENbike, Salt Lake City’s nonprofit bike sharing system.

One of Mayor Becker’s signature achievements is the new George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater, scheduled to open in October of this year. Built without any new taxes, the Theater will host first run Broadway plays and serve as a venue for local and regional arts organizations. Strategically positioned in the heart of downtown’s cultural core, the new facility builds synergy with performers, audiences and downtown businesses. This legacy project builds on existing venues and creating a unique sense of place that will set Salt Lake City apart for decades to come. Mayor Becker’s love for the people of Salt Lake City contributed to the renaissance downtown experienced during his time in office.

14. Geralyn Dreyfous
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As Utah’s First Lady of Film, Geralyn Dreyfous has nurtured filmmakers across the globe but her touch on downtown Salt Lake City was cemented when she founded the Utah Film Center in ---- The Center’s mission, to ---through the power of film” is realized every time they screen free curated independent movies and documentaries to audiences throughout our state. In addition to regular screenings at The Salt Lake City Public Library, Rose Wagner Center, Dreyfous lead in the creation of Tumbleweeds and Damn These Heels, two film festivals produced by the Utah Film Center every year.

Dreyfous is the recipient of numerous honors and recognitions including an Academy Award for the --- documentary Born into Brothels in ----. But her greatest contribution may be the lives she has helped to shape through the narrative of films that she has created or brought to audiences in downtown Salt Lake City. Her contributions to downtown will only continue in future years as we move forward in helping to fulfill the vision of a Film and Media Center, a project she has championed for years.

15. Ririe Woodbury
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For more than 50 years, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company has boldly engaged Salt Lake City audiences, fulfilling their mission to make dance a visible part of everyone’s lives. Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe created the company in 1964, focusing on performance and education. Over the past five decades Ririe Woodbury has become an internationally renowned contemporary dance company with roots deep in downtown Salt Lake City. Today, Jena Woodbury, serves as Executive Director and continues to build on the company’s long legacy.

Ririe Woodbury is one of the resident companies at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on Broadway. Together with the other resident companies: SB Dance, Pygmalion Productions, Plan B Theater Company and Repertory Dance, downtown audiences are challenged, entertained and transformed through music, dance and theater.

16. Pat Richards
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As the region’s cultural center, downtown is home to symphony, opera, theater and ballet. The success of our cultural arts can be attributed to performers, patrons and hundreds of other supporters. But in terms of longevity of service and personal commitment, Pat Richards deserves special recognition.

Since 1994, Richards has helped to guide two of Utah’s legacy cultural organizations, first as member of the Utah Opera Board and then, as a member of the Symphony and Opera Board when the two organizations merged in 2002. She took over as board chair in 2005 and led USUO through the lean years of the great recession, helping to create a long-term plan for financial stability. Today she is the interim president. Richards’ love of music extends beyond volunteer leadership as she has literally leant her voice to the music she loves. She has been a longtime member of the Utah Symphony Chorus. Richards served as a senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank and was the first female chair of the Salt Lake Chamber. Her business acumen, passion for music and commitment to community have sustained downtown’s cultural legacy for future generations.

17. Roger Boyer
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Built in 1991, the One Utah Center on the corner of 200 South and Main shares a 25th birthday with the Downtown Alliance. And it is only fitting that we honor Roger Boyer, who built the iconic skyscraper together with his long-time business partner Kem Gardner. In 2001, the Boyer Company opened the largest private development in downtown’s history at The Gateway in reclaimed rail yards pioneering new development on downtown’s west side. The Gateway ushered in a new concept for Utah, focusing on entertainment, urban living, retail and office development. Now owned by Vestar Corporation, the future of the center remains bright.

Roger Boyer develops much more than just commercial property; he crafts a sense of community. Tall in stature, quiet and gentle in demeanor, Roger has continued to build downtown, re-imagining the former Quest headquarters on the corner of 200 East and 100 South and building the 101 Office Tower across the street. Together with Cowboy Partners, the Boyer Company is continuing to boldly reshape urban neighborhoods, developing the Station Center project west of the Rio Grande Depot, and building the 151 Tower on State Street as a continuation of the downtown rising vision for a skyline district on State and Main.

18. Dell Loy Hansen
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Dell Loy makes things happen. As a developer, investor and creator he has the rare ability to bring disparate people, projects and ideas together. Dell Loy’s vision repurposed the Wells Fargo Building, bringing KUTV’s studios to Main Street. He kept Questar’s corporate headquarters downtown building a --- LEED certified building on a former surface parking lot in 18 months. He retrofitted the international style --- building on Main Street and his team has attracted tech companies large and small who now make us the majority of office users in the WorkDay Building on 200 East and 400 South. Most recently, he purchased the Simmons Media Group and brought a number of popular radio stations to the heart of the urban center rechristening the group as the Broadway Media Group.

Dell Loy’s work in building downtown continues through Wasatch Commercial, Wasatch Residential and Wasatch Constructors who have built more than 2000 new units in and around downtown in last few years.

19. Matt Mankovitch
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Matt Mankovitch has spent a lifetime improving the lives of others. Working in close concert with Michelle Flynn, ---- at the Road Home for ---- years, he and his team at The Road Home, have helped thousands of men, women and children along the journey from homelessness to housing. His compassion is evident in every action, conversation and decision he makes as the Road Home’s Executive Director. The Road Home is more than an emergency shelter, it is a lifeline for people who come to the urban center at difficult times in their lives in search of security, safety and opportunity.

Flynn and Mankovitch do the hard work of helping vulnerable people during some of the most difficult parts of their lives. Many of the people they care for struggle with addiction and mental health woes in addition to financial challenges. Joined by advocates like Pamela Atkinson and working with other homeless service providers like Catholic Community Service, the 4th Street Clinic, Volunteers of America and Crossroads Urban Center, they are committed to strategic interventions that move people into housing, self-sufficiency and recovery.

20. Squatters
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Although much has changed since Jeff Polychronis and Peter Cole opened Squatters Pub on 300 South in September of 1989 the partners still remain firmly dedicated to their goal of providing world-class handcrafted beer and food in a warm, friendly environment. When Squatters opened, Broadway was a very different place. Anything west of West Temple Street was considered the “wrong side of town.”

Jeff and Peter have been avid supporters of downtown Salt Lake City. With the full support and encouragement of Cole and Polychronis, Squatters has become a GREENbike sponsor, annually hosted the Farmers Market kick-off party, installed bike corrals, and has enthusiastically participated in numerous downtown events including Tastemakers, Tour de Brewtah, the annual Pride and St Patrick’s parades, Paint the Town Red, and Downtown Dine O’Round. Jeff and Peter’s commitment and talent have made a huge contribution to a healthy downtown community for more than a quarter of a century. It’s only fitting we raise a glass to their contributions.

21. Tony Caputo
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Downtown has been built on more than steel, glass and bricks. It’s also been constructed with artisan cheese, hand crated salamis, sandwiches, olives, chocolate, balsamic and oil. When Tony Caputo opened for business in the Pioneer Park neighborhood, he was pioneering more than just a new take on specialty Italian and Southern European imports, he was also pioneering a neighborhood that many had written off. Tony Caputo puts his money where his mouth is and much of the renaissance in and around Pioneer Park is a direct result of his willingness to take a risk and invest in the neighborhood.

As his son Matt takes over responsibilities for the management of Caputo’s thriving retail and catering business, Tony Caputo has secured his legacy as a successful small business owner, food entrepreneur and pioneering city builder.

22. John Saltas
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When John Saltas founded City Weekly as the Private Eye Weekly in the mid 1980s, Utah laws prohibited clubs from advertising alcohol. The Private Eye promoted live music and reminded patrons about local bar scene at watering holes like Port O’ Call and Green Street.

Saltas moved the offices for the weekly newspaper downtown in 1991, the same year that the Downtown Alliance was founded, and his commitment to downtown has never wavered. The City Weekly has evolved from a newssheet that promotes nightlife to a critical part of Utah’s media landscape and alternative voice to mainstream media. In the past 25 years, Saltas has stepped forward to support downtown programs and events like the Farmers Market, EVE and Dine O’ Round, while reporting on the unique assets that set downtown apart.

Today, City Weekly is a critical voice for downtown’s diverse voices and continues to offer some of the state’s best investigative journalism. Saltas has made a real and lasting imprint on downtown through decades of influence and advocacy.

23. Lisa Sewell
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Lisa Sewell’s career has been spent building the Utah Arts Festival into one of the largest and most successful arts festivals in the United States. She started as ---- in --- . In ---- she became the Executive Director and her leadership has helped the Festival grow by --- percent in programming, budget and attendance.

Every year the Utah Arts Festival attracts more than 80,000 people to downtown, celebrating performance and visual art in the heart of the capital city. Beyond just creating a venue for the sale of art and artistic expression, Sewell has helped to build community as art loving attendees build memories and relationships in the shared space of their urban center.

24. Casey Jarman
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The Salt Lake City Arts Council started the Twilight Concerts Series on the sloping lawn outside of the Salt Lake Art Center in 1989. For more than 25 years, Casey Jarman was the guiding force as the founder and director. He helped the series grow from humble beginnings to a new home at Gallivan Center where the Series was based for several years. In 2010, Casey brought the series to Pioneer Park, creating a huge uptick in attendance.

The Twilight Concerts have helped to define downtown Salt Lake City’s music scene, exposing local audiences to a diverse national and local music. With an attendance of up to 35,000 per concert, tens of thousands of music lovers have experience live music under the stars on Thursday nights through July and August. Casey’s role as founder and director set the foundation for the Festival’s continued success under Jesse Schaefer who took over management of the Festival in 2014.

25. Kim Angeli-Selin
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Kim Angeli’s passion for the Downtown Farmers Market helped the Downtown Alliance program grow from a small gathering of farmers and artists in Pioneer Park to one of the largest and most successful farmers markets in the country. Under Angeli-Selin’s leadership the Market expanded to a Tuesday night Harvest Market, August through October and a Winter Market in the Rio Grande Depot November through April and grew by ---- percent from 2005 to 2015.

The Market has been one of the driving elements of success in the Pioneer Park neighborhood leading to investment of restaurants and food-based businesses, and new residential offerings. It has also helped to incubate dozens of successful brick and mortar businesses throughout our city. Through all the growth, Angeli-Selin carefully guarded the core values of the market, ensuring that all the elements of a signature downtown event that attracts more than 200,000 people annually remain true to a local, thoughtful and food driven mission.