Win or lose, Salt Lake City's Olympic hopefuls want the public to party while the International Olympic Committee decides where to put the 1998 Winter Games.
They also want one last chance to show committee members how united they believe Utahns are behind the Olympic effort.Mayor Palmer DePaulis announced Thursday the City-County Building, 451 S. State, will be the site of a public celebration June 15 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. At noon, local time, the IOC is expected to make its final decision at a meeting in Birmingham.
That either will touch off a fireworks display and a large celebration, or put a damper on the party.
In any event, the gathering, complete with a 17-member string and brass ensemble from the Utah Symphony, will be beamed via satellite to Birmingham, said Gary Howard, president of Howard Communications.
"We want to provide a vehicle for our people in Birmingham to point to IOC members and show how much community support there is," Howard said. "If we don't win, we still want it to be a good time."
In addition, Howard said, the City-County Building will be electronically lit during the night of June 14, and the public is invited to come after sundown with flashlights. That gathering also will be beamed via satellite to England.
Salt Lake City's Olympic hopefuls are busy gathering money for the event. Howard estimated the cost may reach $70,000, but Deborah Bayle, a Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce vice president, said the cost probably will be closer to $40,000.
Officials are pledging that no tax money will be used for the event. The chamber has the job of finding the money as well as securing in-kind contributions of goods and services, expected to add up to thousands of dollars.
So far, they've gathered no money, but Bayle said she has received pledges for about half the amount needed. "We're frantically working right now on proposals," she said. "We hope to have it wrapped up next week."
The chamber also expects to send letters soon to local business executives, urging them to ask their employees to bring their families to the celebration.
Bayle said she expects a good turnout because the public wants to be part of the Olympic effort. "I think people are psyched for this," she said. "I think this is going to be a big deal."
Howard said local sports and media celebrities will be at the event. A couple of stages will be erected and will feature continuous entertainment.
"We want to feature a mix of popular entertainment and arts and cultural events that are indicative of Salt Lake City," he said.