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Kirby: Landing parade-front real estate is serious business

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jul 22 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Aug 11 2014 10:34 am

When the original group of Mormon pioneers staggered into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 they had little idea of what they actually were setting in motion.

They almost certainly didn’t envision that 167 years later their descendants would be holding a huge annual parade in their honor, an event that takes more money and organizing than the 1,000-mile trek they had just finished.

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That’s because the majority of the early pioneers didn’t think the world would be around this long. They were of a mind that the Second Coming would have happened long before now.

Had my pioneer ancestors been told that Jesus wasn’t coming for at least another 150 years, they probably would have become annoyed. "Ah, what a gyp. We could have just stayed in Nauvoo."

Then again, had anyone told the pioneers that the next largest parade in Zion would be for gay pride, they would have cursed and set fire to the valley before pressing on to somewhere else.

But it didn’t work out that way. Today we have a parade that honors pioneers and anything else we can stuff into it. Thousands of people will descend on the downtown route to witness the event.

Meanwhile, thousands more will curse their luck for trying to drive anywhere within miles of a parade that basically paralyzes a major city.

There are rules to watching the parade. Now seems like a pretty good time for a refresher, although something tells me that by tomorrow evening before the parade, people will be asking, "Rules? What rules?"

Take claim staking. If there’s a spot on South Temple or State Street where your family has watched the parade since Brigham Young’s 11th wife, you still can’t "reserve" it until after 8 p.m. the night before.

Before this it’s illegal to put out lawn chairs, blankets, beer coolers, ropes, banners, land mines, guard dogs or any other object to save your sacred parade spot.

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After 8 p.m. it is permitted to reserve a spot, but only for yourself. You can’t reserve 200 linear feet of curb for your entire clan unless their butts are actually there to sit on it.

All vehicles must be removed from the street along the parade route the night before, which means you can’t park a fifth-wheel trailer or a motor home from which to watch the parade in air-conditioned comfort.

Nor is it permitted to block the sidewalk in order to cram your entire family into the place from where you’ve always watched the parade.

Here’s a sensitive one. No dogs are allowed along the parade route after 6 p.m. the night before, with the exception of the pets of people living along the route and actual service dogs.

And by "actual" the city means dogs that assist the physically disabled rather than any old dog that just makes a person feel good about him or herself.

If you don’t believe me — and I am most definitely not suggesting that you do — you can read the actual city parade/event ordinances here.

That’s a lot of trouble to go to for a parade, especially since everything you could possibly want is at home right in front of a TV where there are no rules.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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