It is the latter - outdoor concerts, festivals, marathons, relays and bike races that have helped to enliven what used to be a relatively quiet time of year in Park City and are now considered a vital part of the local economy. They have become an important part of the lifestyle package that draws not only tourists but new residents to the communities throughout Summit County.
August, in particular, pushes the special events meter to the max, and this weekend is a perfect example. With an activity-filled County Fair happening in North Summit and the Tour of Utah cycling race crisscrossing the Kamas Valley before winding up with a big finish in Park City, the symphony at Deer Valley and a concert at Canyons it is no wonder some residents have begun to ask whether the calendar has become too full.
They site concerns about traffic congestion, road closures, high-speed athletes on narrow trails, lack of parking and crowded venues. They are also wondering whether they are being crowded out of the very amenities - trails and public spaces - they helped to build.
It is a discussion worth having, but the answers must be considered on a town by town, case by case basis. Whether the disruption surrounding a special event is welcome or just aggravating depends on a number of factors.
Coalville has been stepping up its special events roster with great success. Car shows, a triathlon and barbeque contests have helped to attract business. The town is also protective of its role as the home of the County Fair which is being retooled and expanded.
Oakley, Kamas and Francis trade off weekends hosting special events giving each town a chance to step into the spotlight -- and then return to normalcy. Oakley concentrates its efforts on the Fourth of July, Kamas invites visitors to come celebrate Pioneer Day on the 24th of July and Francis hosts Frontier Days on Labor Day weekend. The rotation seems to suit residents who enjoy a quieter, rural lifestyle.
Park City, in the meantime, has a chock-full calendar with some inevitable conflicts. The challenge facing city officials and staff is being selective and then holding organizers to the highest standards, ensuring that event permitting fees cover the costs of mitigating impacts (including law enforcement) and then assessing each event afterwards with community input.
Special events do require some concessions -- occasionally dodging road closures, giving public transportation a try or altering plans for a run or ride to avoid a race. But the reward is living in an area where every weekend offers a unique array of entertainment and adventure.