By Mindy Ragan Wood
Rock the Route was back this year with live bands, food trucks, and activities for children, but the plight of Houston flood victims was not far from the community’s heart.
Assistant City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said the city decided to donate the proceeds from a raffle for a guitar signed by Reckless Kelly and Randy Rogers band members.
“We don’t have a total yet, but we know it’s over $1,000,” Kretchmar said.
The annual event drew close to 10,000 people this year, up from 8,000 last year. Rock the Route was budgeted at $65,000.
“We use the hotel motel tax to pay for it, which has to be used for tourism and nothing else,” said City spokeswoman Jenna Roberson. “We can let it sit there and not spend it or use it to bring people to the community. We do benefit in sales tax eventually. The ones (businesses) that were open last night, they were busy.”
The large-scale event requires “all hands on deck” Roberson said, and several organizations assisted in the effort. The Chamber of Commerce, Yukon’s Best Main Street on Route 66, and the parks and recreation department were among event organizers and workers. At least 50 city employees also worked the event.
Parks and Recreation manned the “kiddie area” where there was a bubble pool, washer toss game, and photo booth. Director Jan Scott said those events are a lot of work.
“We did Spirit Sprint last week, this week was Rock the Route and next is the Labor Day Replay. Any event we do is a lot of work, but when we see people enjoy it that’s worthwhile for us. Everyone seemed happy and enjoyed being downtown in their hometown,” Scott said.
Roberson said she was sure why the event drew a bigger crowd this year, but that likely it was due to several factors.
“It was tough to follow up last year because it was a great event, but we pulled out all stops. We had great bands this year, and every band is going to have its own fan base. We had more food trucks and I know those have a following. There may have been more people in the area,” she said.
Of the other events that the city sponsors, Roberson said Rock the Route appeals more to adults.
“There were lots of people out there of all ages, that’s one of my favorite things about Rock the Route. While it is family friendly, it really is a little more for the adults. A lot of our events are aimed at kids and we love doing that, but Rock the Route is different.”