Many residents were surprised last summer when the starting time for the city's Fourth of July Parade was changed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Now the City Council has decided to continue that evening starting time - at least for this year.
City Manager Alex Jensen agreed the city had broken tradition with the change and that he took a lot of calls from upset residents last year.He said, however, that many city workers and Little League participants favored the evening parade time.
The evening parade means traditional all-star ball games can be played in the morning hours, when it is much cooler.
Jensen said the evening parade time also saves the city considerable money, with less overtime pay required. It works better for police who must shut down the streets and for public works crews in their cleanup duties.
"The staff feels it was a success," he said of the later time.
Even reports from vendors at the midway reported no decrease in business last year, despite the evening parade.
Jensen also said the later time means the city has fewer conflicts with the parades of neighboring cities.
Mayor Jerry Stevenson said Layton was fortunate in 1997 when the high on July 4th was only about 90 degrees. Some years, the temperature has reached 100 degrees on that date. Temperatures are definitely cooler at 10 a.m. than at 6 p.m.
Other council members would like the city to make a better effort to attract larger floats and even bands to the parade, something that should be more promising with the evening starting time.
There has also been discussion of bringing back a major footrace and a family breakfast on the morning of July 4th.
The ban against throwing candy along the parade route also surfaced in the council's Feb. 5 discussion.
"It's not worth the risk," Jensen said, referring to possible accidents if children moved into the path of oncoming parade entries while trying to grab candy. "We're not trying to be Scrooges."