Record editorial: Reaching accords about Park City special events will not be an easy task
Do you see the Park Silly Sunday Market as an exciting day on Main Street? Or is the event just a hassle for you?
And what about the Park City Kimball Arts Festival? Is it a weekend to head to Main Street to shop for something to brighten up an empty wall? Or do the crowds just not make a trip worthwhile?
The leaders of Park City and Parkites have a chance in coming months to shape the future of two of the community’s best-known special events. The Silly Market has brought an eclectic lineup of vendors to Main Street on Sundays in the summer and fall for more than a decade and a half. The arts festival dates back even further and is still seen as an anchor of the summer-tourism season. Each of the events boosts Park City’s tourism-heavy economy, but they also each contribute to the concerns among some Parkites that the city has been overrun by the visitors.
The agreement between City Hall and the Kimball Art Center, which organizes the arts festival, expired in August, while the agreement between the municipal government and the Silly Market expires at the end of September. The sides intend to negotiate new agreements.
The expirations of the contracts present Parkites an opportunity to hold important discussions about the role of special events to Park City’s economy, logistical matters related to the individual events and the sort of atmosphere desired in Old Town and the broader community. There will also be fodder in the upcoming talks for the long-running debate between a Park City business community that sees the economic promise of special events and a populace that increasingly worries about the traffic, crowds and other annoyances they bring.
The event organizers and City Hall, then, must attempt to reach accords that will be agreeable to Parkites and the business community. That will not be an easy task given how fractured Park City tends to become in cases that involve the tourism industry and the everyday lives of Parkites.
Park City has posted online surveys centered on the two events. The Silly Market survey is available at: https://engageparkcity.org/pssm while the arts festival survey is available at https://engageparkcity.org/kaf.
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