In a 4-1 vote Thursday night, city council moved ahead with scheduling the Fourth of July parade in Park City for Friday, July 2nd.
The council was seeking public feedback on the decision after first considering the move late last month. City Economic Development Program Manager Jenny Diersen said she was sent an unusual amount of feedback on the topic.
“We did receive an, what I would say, a pretty extraordinary amount of feedback and outreach regarding this item,” said Diersen. “Some of the feedback I received, there are concerns that the city is being unpatriotic. I think it’s important to mention the activities that we focus on for the Fourth of July are community activities and events. We did have to cancel the community activities and events last year due to the pandemic, but we did not cancel a national holiday. It was still the Fourth of July. Some of the sentiment of the outreach is, kind of, ‘how dare the city cancel a national holiday.’ We’re not doing that, we’re just trying to figure out the best way to move forward.”
Diersen said in a typical year, the Fourth of July brings between 30-40,000 people to town.
Despite the COVID-19 situation in the state improving, the city has gotten regular feedback over the past several years encouraging a scaled-back approach to city events. The council’s decision is largely an experiment to reduce crowds on a traditionally packed holiday. The change is only effective for this year and will be reevaluated in 2022.
Councilor Max Doilney, himself a lifelong Park City resident, recognized the tradition of hosting the parade on the 4th, but also remembered past Sunday parades being more crowded than usual.
“We have historically stuck to the 4th, even when it’s on Sunday, and if I remember correctly, the Sunday Fourth of July’s that we’ve had have far exceeded the ones where we share a day with other communities,” he said.
Councilor Nann Worel was the lone vote against moving the parade. She told KPCW her decision was based on tradition and an effort to give a voice to the members of the public who voiced support for a Sunday parade.
“As a veteran, I’m extremely patriotic and very traditional when it comes to that,” explained Worel. “We also got a tremendous amount of public input saying ‘leave it on the 4th, don’t move it. That day is important. It’s important that we celebrate on our nation’s birthday.’ So I just, for my own personal reasons as well as I felt like the voice of the people that want to leave it on the 4th of July needed to be registered and needed to be heard.”
Despite the parade moving to Friday the 2nd, plans are still in place for fireworks on the 4th, but whether that happens largely hinges on fire danger during the week of the holiday.
Car-free Sunday, the Silly Market, and the Park City Rugby fundraiser will still be held on Sunday, July 4th.