PROVO — New ordinances put into effect this year didn't deter too many folks from setting up early Thursday afternoon for today's Grand Parade on University Avenue in Provo.

Even though the new ordinance says parade attendees aren't allowed to save spots along University Avenue until 3 p.m. the day before the parade, they were already descending upon the street in droves by 1 p.m. and had nearly every available spot on the east side of the street claimed by 2 p.m. Empty chairs and blankets lined the street, while their owners could be seen lurking behind or under anything offering some sort of shade.

Bob Allen of Provo said he's been coming to the same spot year after year and sitting by the same people. He and Terry Walker of Orem put down their chairs and then retreated to the shade under the entrance of a building between 100 North and Center Street with the biggest drinks 7-Eleven sells.

"I don't think we have enough traditions," Allen said. "This is one we'd like to keep."

He said he didn't think the new restrictions for the parade were really enforceable for police. Walker said he had a better idea for the city. His advice was for Provo to stake out 10-foot spots along the route and then tell watchers to go down to the courthouse to pay for a spot. He said he'd gladly pay $10 for his spot and thought it would pay for patrolling police officers and cleanup.

Allen said the best experience he ever had at the parade was when his son was renting a house while attending school at Brigham Young University. He said his son rolled out a couch and a lounge chair and then served him scrambled eggs while he sat and watched the parade.

"(On) University Avenue, once one person saw somebody move in, then that whole street's pretty much filled up," Provo Police Sgt. Matt Sinfanua said. "Even though it's not 3 o'clock. We were pretty good about patrolling it earlier this morning, but about an hour and a half ago we got more calls than we do officers."

Sinfanua was telling people along Center Street about the ordinance, which says no one can put up chairs and blankets along Center Street until 5 a.m. Friday. He said police would be out along the route starting at 2 p.m. Thursday until 5 a.m. Friday. A major reason for the new ordinances, he said, was to keep down the late-night parties along Center Street, which is mostly residential.

"We're just going to be real vigilant on this street tonight on keeping everybody off of public property," he said. That includes the grassy area between the sidewalk and the street up and down Center Street.

Three women and a girl from Orem had no idea about the new ordinances when they put their blanket down on Center Street around 1:15 p.m., but they said they were just doing what they did every year. Residents along the street, however, were more than happy with the new changes. Larry and Janet Peer have lived along Center Street for 14 years.

"Tens and thousands of people come outhere and walk up and down the sidewalks and watch the parade," Larry Peer said. "And the vast majority of them are respectful and friendly and decent and all like that."

Janet Peer said that in the past, people have broken trees, urinated by their house and even camped out on their lawn for three or four days, making watering troublesome.

"Everyone asks to use the restroom," she said, adding that she just points them down the street to the portable toilets. The city, though, is very good about taking care of the residents along the parade route, she said.

"The city bends over backwards for the people that live here," she said. "The minute the parade's over, they pick up the porta-potties, they pick up the garbage, and then they sweep the streets and clean out the gutters. And in three or four hours you would never know that there had been a parade."

Provo resident Juan Ruiz Jr., who owns a Web development company along University Avenue, had about six or seven folding chairs and a sleeping bag covering his domain at the northeast corner of 200 N. University Ave.

"I do the initial scope, reserve duties, and they get the rest," he said about his family, who was going to join him later in the day. His spot is unique, he said, because he has a bathroom and a microwave just upstairs in his office.


E-mail: jdavis@desnews.com