For the first time in its 34-year history, the Aspen Hall of Fame banquet will not be held. According to the organization’s board of directors, “The uncertainty surrounding the future of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to protect the safety of attendees and inductees” were behind the decision to cancel next year’s banquet, which was set for Feb. 21, 2021.
Since January 1986, the AHOF has been honoring Aspen-area residents at its annual banquet. The major fundraising event for the organization, the AHOF, which is run entirely by volunteers, relies solely on donations for its operational capital.
“We believe it is important to continue honoring the incredible contributions that our inductees have made to the Aspen and Snowmass communities,” said Aspen Hall of Fame Board President Lorna Petersen. “That’s why we have decided to reallocate funding received for banquet expenses to an educational program we are calling, ‘Then and Now.’”
According to a press release issued recently, “The organization will pursue an educational media campaign to share the mission of the Aspen Hall of Fame with the public by highlighting past inductees’ major contributions to life in Aspen and Snowmass. It will look at highlights from past inductee’s lives and put them in the context of life today.”
The board is considering other possible programs and educational events it can hold instead of the 2021 banquet.
In the meantime, AHOF will also continue to solicit nominations for future honorees. For the first time, people will be able to nominate possible inductees any time during the year, prior to the annual cutoff date of Aug. 20, 2021.
Nominations may be made by going online to https://www.aspenhalloffame.org/nominate/. According to the press release, any resident of Aspen or Snowmass Village, alive or deceased, is eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame.
“Nominations can be made by any interested party and nominees are kept on the nomination list in perpetuity for reconsideration each year,” it was noted.
According to a statement from AHOF founder Jeanette Darnauer, “Our idea in 1986 was to establish an enduring way to honor the incredible individuals who have inspired us throughout our history and enabled the foundation of our resort communities.”
Darnauer came up with the idea for the Aspen Hall of Fame while working in communications at the Aspen Skiing Co.
She said, “While we could never have anticipated such a serious threat to our economy and social lives as this pandemic, we won’t allow these changes to impact the educational opportunity to honor these community heroes.”
The hall of fame’s mission remains the same, and that’s to honor those who have had a “significant and lasting impact on the Aspen/Snowmass communities — economically, physically, spiritually, ethically or intellectually.”
To be considered for the AHOF, nominees must have demonstrated inspirational leadership and have made major contributions to cultural, sports, and/or civic activities, according to the release.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the Aspen Hall of Fame may do so on the organization’s website aspenhalloffame.org. Another option is to send a check to the Aspen Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 510, Aspen, CO, 81612.