Park City Council has indicated they are not in favor of holding a parade the weekend of July 4th, but are open to a Friday parade on July 2nd.
In the words of city staff in Park City, the Fourth of July remains a moving target. The COVID-19 pandemic could look completely different, for better or worse, two months from now and as far as state law is concerned, the pandemic is likely to be declared officially over in Utah in the coming weeks after the passage of the pandemic “endgame” bill in March.
With no ability to enforce public health orders, the question posed to city council this week was what, if anything, should the city plan for the Fourth of July?
Truckee, California -- a mountain resort community not unlike Park City -- cancelled all of their Fourth of July festivities on April 27th. In Utah, at least at the moment, the Fourth is still very much on the calendar.
Park City Economic Development Program Manager Jenny Diersen said many communities along the Wasatch Front have tentative plans in place for parades on Saturday, July 3rd.
Councilor Steve Joyce said taking actions to limit drive-up traffic from the Salt Lake and Provo areas should be the top priority for Park City.
“To me, the concern of drawing a large crowd and COVID-related issues is really about the drive-up traffic from the Wasatch Front,” Joyce said. “If they turn around and do theirs on Saturday and then the actual Fourth is on a Sunday, there’s some number of people who really like to do the Fourth on the 4th and if we’re the one doing it on the 4th and we’re up in cooler, more comfortable Park City, we just get this huge, huge draw from people to come up and celebrate up here and that worries me the most.”
City staff proposed hosting a parade on Friday, July 2nd.
The council said community feedback in recent years has increasingly encouraged the city to scale down the Fourth of July, making it more of a local event rather than a draw for tourists. Councilor Becca Gerber said a Friday parade might be better for locals, especially the city’s workers.
“Most of our workforce works on holidays no matter when it is,” said Gerber. “The people that are working in restaurants on Main Street or working at the resorts, our workforce, they might actually have a better chance of being off work on a Friday because a lot of people work through a holiday weekend straight, Saturday and Sunday.”
Fellow Councilor Max Doilney, who owns and operates the Corner Store Pub and Grill, agreed and said local service-industry workers could make more money over a spread-out holiday. He landed firmly in the Friday parade camp.
“Our service population is just gonna be over the moon that they’re making more money that weekend rather than having it all on one day,” he said. “You’re spreading it out a little bit so I appreciate that. I think it’s hard to keep people from wanting to come to Park City. Doing [the parade] on Friday is really the only option in my mind. I wouldn’t support a parade on Saturday or Sunday. I’m a ‘no’ on either of those days, straight up.”
Fireworks were also discussed and coordinating with other local displays in the Wasatch Back, like the ones traditionally held at Canyons, was another option to further spread people out over the weekend. However, even without a pandemic, fireworks are still very dependent on day-of weather and fire danger.
No final decisions on the Fourth of July were made by the council. Councilors encouraged the public to reach out and give their feedback on the current proposals before any votes are taken.