Imagine taking the family on a road trip and landing in the midst of a giant art festival stretching the length of a historic main street. Then picture that scene bookended by concert stages and an outdoor movie screen showing a free Sundance film. Add a live symphony in a grassy amphitheater at one of the top ski resorts in North America, a thrilling live preview of the 2014 Olympics at the Utah Olympic Park, a world-class collection of shops and restaurants and a nationally-recognized trail system set against a spectacular Alpine backdrop. It is hard to see why anyone would ever want to leave, right?
Well, as those of us who fell in love with Park City after our first mountain-bike ride along the ridgeline know, it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to maintain this vacation paradise. With hundreds of thousands of people expected to drop in over the weekend, public safety officials, business owners, employees and battalions of volunteers will be working overtime to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience.
There are lots of ways all of us can help. Many have already signed up to volunteer as ushers, guides and ticket takers. But even those who haven't signed up for a specific shift can pitch in. Stopping to offer directions or just a friendly smile will make visitors feel more welcome and using public transportation will ease the traffic and parking pressure.
We would also like to encourage everyone to put their cell phones on silent and out of reach while driving. In addition to all of the normal weekend bicycle traffic, local highways will be lined with cyclists participating in the Tour de Park City event. Bikes and cars are already a dangerous mix without adding distracted drivers.
Finally, a reminder to use 911 if needed, but judiciously. The Park City Fire District and Sheriff's Department both rely on the public to report emergencies, but with resources stretched to the limit, false alarms can keep emergency personnel from responding where they are most needed.
Park City is a small community that is hosting a very big weekend. It is a tribute to those who came and stayed years ago that it is still the kind of community where visitors fantasize about moving in and becoming permanent residents.