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Sleepier summer in Sun Valley: The only stars are the ones in the sky; Allen & Co. canceled

Tamarack Resort Q4 2020
Future in Focus: Sun Valley

Typically, the week after the Fourth of July sees the Sun Valley area fill up with big names aboard private jets. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. CBS’ Shari Redstone. That Jeff Bezos guy.

The towns of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey buzz with activity – and full hotel rooms. Local kids serve as babysitters to the tycoons’ kids. Journalists camp out on the side of the road or at the Konditeroi, trying to get a newsy scoop. Moms wish their kids luck with spotting stars.

Anyone looking for stars this year will have to look to the sky instead of the streets.

No billionaires this year

But this year, as with so many things in the COVID-19 era, is different. Allen & Co. confirmed to the Idaho Mountain Express earlier this year that it wouldn’t bring its annual conference to the Sun Valley Resort. The so-called ‘summer camp for billionaires’ would face the same fate many summer camps for children across the US faced: canceled.

Last year, we talked to Harry Griffith of the Sun Valley Economic Development group about the conference. A quote he gave us in better times illustrates the challenge in harder times.

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“This is an anchor in their summer season,” Griffith said last year. “Without Allen & Company, a retail shop might have one less employee. They know they can rely on being full during the week, with the participants, security details, and set up teams.”

On a normal Allen & Co. week, finding lodging in the Sun Valley area is impossible just about no matter how early you book. But this year, you can book one of the Lodge’s best rooms on short notice.

With Allen & Co. canceled – as well as other significant events, Sun Valley could be on the list for Idahoans looking for a trip close to home.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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