Park City Halloween celebration canceled: It’s no trick, and certainly no treat |

Park City Halloween celebration canceled: It’s no trick, and certainly no treat

The annual Halloween celebration in Park City, shown in 2019, usually draws a large crowd to Main Street. Organizers canceled the event, dubbed Howl-O-Ween, this year amid continued concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Park Record file photo

It is no trick.

And certainly no treat.

The organization that represents businesses in the Main Street core has canceled the annual Halloween celebration on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip. It is more evidence that concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus will continue well into the fall after the 2019-2020 ski season ended early and a string of cancellations hurt the summer-tourism season.

The Halloween event, dubbed Howl-O-Ween and featuring a dog parade as well as trick-or-treating, typically draws a large crowd to Main Street in the shoulder season. The event draws upward of 10,000 people. Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council on Thursday received an overall briefing about the events calendar that included the update regarding the Halloween gathering. City Hall staffers had recommended it be canceled, according to materials drafted in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday.

The Autumn Aloft hot-air balloon festival, scheduled from Sept. 18 until Sept. 20, was also canceled. It had been scheduled to be held off Kearns Boulevard with an event on Main Street included. Officials said Autumn Aloft normally draws a crowd of 8,000 over the three days.

The two cancellations illustrate the continuing concerns about the spread of the sickness after a string of summertime events were already called off. The earlier cancellations included the Park Silly Sunday Market, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, the Tour of Utah bicycling race and a series of cultural or athletic events. The Miners Day celebration, held annually on Labor Day, was also scrapped for the year.

The cancellations have impacted a summer-tourism season that normally is boosted by special events. The gatherings draw people on day trips from the Wasatch Front and elsewhere in Utah and, importantly for the lodging industry, people from outside of the state.

Business was mixed in June and July, with some places reporting solid numbers and others saying sales were off sharply. Park City turned Main Street into a pedestrian-only zone on certain days in an effort to attract people and provide space for social distancing.

Leaders have indicated it is important to take measures like canceling events in the summer and fall amid the continued spread of the sickness. They also say they want to attempt to protect the ski season, a much more lucrative stretch for the community than the summer and fall. Continuing progress locally on curbing the spread of the sickness as winter approaches, the thinking goes, would increase the prospects for the ski season. The most recent ski season ended several weeks earlier than scheduled to combat the spread of the illness. The Halloween celebration that was canceled this week had been slated for shortly before the typical date of opening day at Park City Mountain Resort.

The Halloween celebration and Miners Day are seen as two of the annual events that are especially attractive to people who live in the Park City area. Crowds arrive to pay homage to the community’s silver-mining heritage on Miners Day and then return to Main Street the next month for a funky afternoon and evening of costumed pets and people on Halloween.

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