Innovative minds wanted for newly created Park City festival
Park City leaders hope there is innovation in the thin air of the mountains.
The Park City Council on Thursday approved a permit allowing an event called the Thin Air Innovation Festival. The gathering, which will focus on reaching a person’s peak performance, is scheduled from April 6 until April 8. The festival is open to people holding credentials. The credentials are available to the general public and are priced at $300 each.
Scheduled speakers include the Kevin Plank, who is the CEO of Under Armour, Skullcandy CEO Hoby Darling and Tiger Shaw, who is the leader of the United States Ski & Snowboard Association. The organizers will set up what is referred to as the Thin Air Lounge at Butcher’s Chop House. Other festival locations include the Eccles Center, Silver Lake Lodge, Legacy Lodge, Red Pine Lodge and Utah Olympic Park.
The Park City Chamber/Bureau created the event as a way to draw people to Park City toward the end of the ski season. Visitor numbers usually dip in early April, which is typically the final week or so of the ski season. The Chamber/Bureau and others in the tourism industry have long considered ideas to boost the business in early April.
The Chamber/Bureau’s vice president of special events, Bob Kollar, said in an interview after the City Council approval a crowd of approximately 1,000 is expected to attend the Thin Air Innovation Festival.
"Typically April is a pretty slow time," Kollar said.
The Chamber/Bureau hopes the event becomes an annual gathering. Kollar also said organizers hope corporate groups host meetings in Park City prior to the Thin Air Innovation Festival or afterward.
The executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, Alison Kuhlow-Butz, testified in favor of the event, saying the April dates are timed well. The Historic Park City Alliance represents businesses in the Main Street district.
The mayor and City Council did not spend extensive time discussing the event. Nann Worel, a City Councilor, wondered about the impact on businesses along lower Main Street.
Jenny Diersen, a City Hall special events coordinator, drafted a report in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday with a recommendation in support of the event.
"Thin Air Innovation Festival is a concept born from the belief that by gathering groups of inspired people in an environment known for majestic mountains peaks, clear alpine atmosphere, two world-class year round resorts, and a growing tech-savvy community, innovation is bound to happen," the report says.
The event will also include a free concert on lower Main Street open to the public. The Thievery Corporation performance is slated on April 8. The organizers anticipate the concert could draw a crowd of between 3,000 and 5,000. The concert will require the closure of lower Main Street in a similar fashion as other concerts and events held on that section of the street.
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The Park City Police Department on Saturday, May 8, received at least three complaints from businesses in the Main Street core. In one of the cases, a customer was outside “causing a scene,” according to department logs.