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Park City Council gives thumbs up to July Fourth drone show

 Drones being used for a July Fourth celebration in Tusayan, Arizona in 2021.
Drones being used for a July 4 celebration in Tusayan, Arizona in 2021.

Park City’s Fourth of July celebration will be a little different this year.

The local 5k race and parade down Main Street aren’t going anywhere, but when the sun goes down on July 4, expect something new.

The Park City Council gave unanimous support at its meeting Thursday for a drone show on Independence Day. While it's about triple the price of fireworks, drones don’t pose a wildfire risk.

Councilman Jeremy Rubell said that was reason enough.

“I think we’re going to have high fire danger,” Rubell. “I love fireworks but it’s just not worth the risk around here and other impacts.”

Despite identifying himself as “anti-drone,” councilman Max Doilney supported the change.

“I’m also anti-wildfire so I’m down for drones for Fourth of July, but I would love it for it to be like a total number of minutes that drones could be flown in the city limits for a whole year and it gets filled up by that one event," Doilney said.

"So that they can never fly around here because they’re so freaking annoying.”

Near the end of the discussion, Doilney questioned whether Park City should still put on a July Fourth evening event. Councilwoman Tana Toly said this summer will be a good test to see if the drone show works well.

The city events department will now put a request for bids out on a drone show, which has been budgeted at $60,000.

Cities throughout the West have pivoted to drone shows for celebrations in recent years amid increasing concern about wildfires. Canyons Village used drones for the first time last year for its Fourth of July festivities.

The council banned fireworks in city limits last summer.