Park City approves march that could draw thousands during Sundance
Event planned on Main Street the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration
The organizers of a march in support of a spectrum of causes that is planned during the Sundance Film Festival won an approval on Thursday to hold the event on Main Street, securing a permit from City Hall that makes it likely the first Saturday of Sundance will be even more rollicking than it is typically.
The Park City Council approved the event on a unanimous vote. One of the organizers addressed the elected officials, but there was no input from the public. The organizers bill the event as the Women’s March on Main. It is planned to coincide with a similar march in Washington, D.C. The organizers say the march is not designed as a protest to the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. It is planned the day after Trump is scheduled to be sworn into office, however.
Cindy Levine, the Park City-based organizer, said in an interview she anticipates between 4,000 and 5,000 people will march on Jan. 21. It would be far larger than most demonstrations held during Sundance if the attendance reaches the numbers the organizers anticipate. City Hall pegged the anticipated number at between 1,000 and 3,000. Sundance has long been a favored time for demonstrations centered on a range of issues like the Iraqi war and animal rights, but events in past years normally drew, at most, a few hundred people.
“It goes to show the need for this march,” Levine said in an interview after the City Council vote. “The level of participation is huge. People want their voices heard.”
She said the march will be in support of issues like civil liberties, women’s rights and worker rights.
The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. with setup slated to start at 7 a.m. and the teardown expected to end by noon. The marchers will start at the Brew Pub lot toward the southern end of Main Street, move down Main Street, turn east on Heber Avenue and end at the flagpole lot near the bottom of Swede Alley. Levine said the march itself should take between 30 and 45 minutes. It will be followed by a rally at the flagpole lot.
The march will add to the spectacle of the opening weekend of Sundance, usually the busiest stretch of the festival. Main Street during the morning of the first Saturday of Sundance is normally packed with film lovers, celebrity gawkers and industry figures, making it an opportune time for demonstrators of various stripes to draft like-minded people as well as attract media coverage.
But traffic, parking and other logistical issues are also usually most difficult during the opening weekend, and the march could complicate the Main Street core and roads leading there. A City Hall report prepared in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday indicated a rolling closure of the roads on the march route is planned. It also said Swede Alley could be temporarily closed if needed for ensure the marchers are safe and that coordination between City Hall and the organizers is needed to address bus routes.
The Women’s March on Main is not affiliated with Sundance.
The elected officials briefly discussed the march before approving the event. Tim Henney, a City Councilor, questioned the costs that will be incurred by the municipal government. He mentioned, as an example, the Police Department will be involved. Park City Attorney Mark Harrington, though, said the City Council cannot base a ‘Nay’ vote on costs, noting the march is protected constitutionally.