Park City moves to cancel Fourth of July parade, but fireworks could still light up holiday
Park City officials intend to cancel the Fourth of July parade and most of the events normally held at City Park on Independence Day but could allow the traditional fireworks display at Park City Mountain Resort, opting for a greatly scaled-back celebration rather than the typical spectacle on July 4.
It had been anticipated for weeks that the celebration on July 4 would be subdued as compared to previous ones as the area continues to attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Fourth of July is normally one of the busiest days of the year in Park City, drawing tens of thousands of people for the daylong celebration.
People usually line the parade route from Main Street to City Park, with the crowd several people deep at many points. The City Park activities, too, typically draw a crowd while Main Street remains busy throughout the day. There are a variety of vantage points that become crowded for the fireworks display.
But Park City leaders are worried about ensuring social distancing with such large crowds. They also are concerned about the prospects of the further spread of the sickness, especially in the months before the community begins to prepare in earnest for the ski season.
Officials had indicated the Fourth of July celebration would not be held in the traditional manner, but City Hall early in the week released details. A report, drafted by City Hall staffers, was prepared in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting scheduled on Thursday. The planning continues and more information could be made public by as early as the meeting on Thursday.
The parade cancellation is especially noteworthy. The City Hall report indicates the decision is “an easy way to eliminate a mass gathering activity that is difficult to control and mitigate” and calls the parade “the main attraction to thousands of visitors.”
The staffers outline a similar reasoning as they explain the cancellation of the activities at City Park, saying it is a step in “preventing large group gatherings we normally see at the park.” A volleyball tournament at City Park could be allowed.
City Hall, meanwhile, wants to pedestrianize Main Street on July 4 in a similar fashion as the Sunday pedestrian days. July 4 is a Saturday, meaning Main Street will be pedestrianized for two consecutive days. The fireworks display at PCMR is desired.
If the fireworks display is held, officials want spectators to watch from their residences or businesses rather than gathering at the many vantage points where crowds normally watch the fireworks.
City Hall says the celebrations on the Fourth of July will not be advertised in the Salt Lake Valley. The report outlines a “locals 4th” approach to enjoying in your neighborhood with friends and family.”
The report offers the most information to date about the plans for July 4. There had been numerous unknowns regarding one of the biggest days on the city’s tourism calendar just two weeks prior to Independence Day. It seemed in recent weeks that it would be difficult to hold the parade and, likely, the City Park activities based on social distancing guidelines. The fireworks display seemed to be more of a possibility.
The decision regarding the key elements of the Fourth of July celebration continues a series of major cancellations during the summer based on the spread of the illness. Others have included the weekly Park Silly Sunday Market, the Tour of Utah bicycling race and the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. The cancellations of the three events, coupled with decision regarding the 4th of July celebration, removed hundreds of thousands of people from Main Street this summer and early fall, contributing to worries about sales on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip as well as across Park City.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council are scheduled to discuss the Fourth of July and other special events at the meeting on Thursday. One hour has been set aside for the discussion starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast online. More information is available on the City Hall website.
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Deputies found Baird’s vehicle at a trailhead in the Sawtooth National Forest about 20 miles northwest of Ketchum.