Park City's 4th of July is out of control
As another 4th of July celebration comes to a close I can't help but wonder, yet again, what happened to the "old" 4th and how we have arrived at a place of putting on a celebration for the masses?
In the years of raising our kids here we would grab breakfast on Main before the parade and visit with friends, watch the parade (remember, they even threw candy?) and head to City Park for festivities. It was a town celebration; everyone did this, just like us. We fast forward to Main Street on the morning of the 4th, so packed with lawn chairs and people that you can hardly move let alone get a cup of coffee and find someone you know to visit with. And afterward, we could barely move on bikes going home via Woodside -- full gridlock.
This might be OK if we wanted to write off the whole thing as "good for Main Street" but the scene at the park has become totally nuts. The turning point for us at the park was 2 years ago when the police pepper-sprayed the crowd in an effort to control two kids in a fight at the Rugby game; our (fully sober) 19 year old happened to be part of that crowd and was fully sprayed.
How this was handled was ridiculous and further illustrates how far we have moved into "crowd management." When we asked when they last pepper-sprayed a crowd in Park City, they replied 'never.' We decided then that our days of going to the park on the 4th were done.
We continue to hear of good kids making bad choices at the park on the 4th. These are our kids, kids from our community who clearly feel anonymous in the sea of people and free-for-all atmosphere. Some of these kids will have the reality of these bad decisions on this one day follow them around for years.
The fireworks scene isn't any better, same thing, different hour. At some point we need to decide as a community if this is what we want. As things stand, we just hope our young adult kids won't come home for the 4th and we ourselves move farther away from the "town celebration." I think this year we've given up the parade. It feels like such a shame. It used to be so much fun, the essence of community and celebration, why we all live here. Does anyone else feel like we need to take back the 4th??