Amy Roberts: Hurricane Sundance
January 20, 2015
Like an imminent hurricane, the 2015 Sundance Film Festival is upon us. If history is any indication, it’s going to be a Category 5 again this year. And, as always, Park City is the eye of this annual storm.
As if we were all Florida natives, most locals know exactly how to prepare. We stock up on groceries, toilet paper, liquor and other needed items just before it hits. We put gas in our cars. We call our loved ones and assure them we’ll be fine. Then we batten down the hatches and hope for the best.
And as with every hurricane, there are always a few thrill-seeking locals who rush out into the storm, defying death, to ride the incredible waves. (Also called going to Main Street this weekend.)
But too often, we spend the next 10 days complaining about the flood of people, the lack of parking, the traffic, the PIBs, the packed busses, the inability to get dinner in town, and every other little inconvenience we must endure for a week and a half each January. Some of us act as if we actually really are in the midst of a tropical storm and surviving its gale-force winds.
How quickly we forget to be grateful for the chaos.
I was reminded of that this weekend when I was skiing with a friend from L.A. who has a second home here. We got on the topic of real estate taxes and I told him how low mine are. I about fell off the chairlift when he told me what he pays in California. He pays more each month in property taxes there than I do annually here.
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While there are a lot of factors that determine the cost of property taxes, the Sundance Film Festival certainly plays a role in keeping ours low. It’s estimated the 10-day Festival contributes about $80 million each year to our state’s economy. Something we all benefit from.
On top of that, the good people who run the Sundance Film Festival do what they can to make our hassle worth our while.
Each year they give hundreds of tickets to local nonprofits which they think could benefit from a particular film. They also offer special screenings for service men and women and the Native American community. And they frequently give away ticket packages to local charities to be used at their fundraisers. They also work to bring relative community programming to Park City residents throughout the year.
And of course, there’s the Best of Fest and Townie Tuesday events, which allow locals to see free movies during Sundance, including the winning dramatic and documentary films.
So while we all hunker down and go into full hurricane-survival mode, bracing ourselves in these last few hours of calm before the storm, let’s try to remember — the next 10 days make the other 355 all worth it.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.