300,000 spectators expected to pack path of patriotic parade in Provo

Posted at 8:42 PM, Jul 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-04 00:49:30-04

PROVO, Utah --It was the hottest day of the year so far, but that didn't stop thousands of people from braving the heat in Provo to secure prime real estate to watch Provo’s Grand Parade on the Fourth of July.

Residents who staked their claim to seats early on , like Connie Phillips, said a prime spot is worth the wait.

"You gotta do what you gotta do, get a spot," Phillips said.

Space on University Avenue is limited, and the dedicated camped out all day Thursday to secure their front row seats for Provo's Grand Parade. Click here for details about the parade and a map of the route.  For Jana Petrossi, this is a 25-year tradition that beats the heat.

"It gets us all together at least once a year - I mean we get together more - but this gets us together for a whole day with the family,” Petrossi said.

For others, it's a tradition in the making.

"Last time I went to the Provo parade I was a kid, so I'm sure it's changed a lot and I hear it's very high energy at night so I'm sure it'll be interesting,” Phillips said. “We wanted our son to experience it."

Parade Chairman Alan DeWitt expects about 300,000 people to line the streets to see the parade floats, bands and performances. He said the parade committee and Provo police have measures in place to keep tempers down as the heat goes up.

"Police have set up emergency operation center to deal with anything that might happen,” he said. “Our experience in the past gives us the ability to know where the hot spots are."

DeWitt won't divulge where those hot spots are, but parade goers we talked with don't seem worried about rising tensions. They said camping out is about getting to know their new 'neighbors' and celebrating our country together.

"We fully support Fourth of July just as many of these others do, and this is our way of showing that and having a good time at the same time," Jenny Christopherson said.

Marcus Christensen adds, "I think it's a time where we can kind of forget who we are and just be one community celebrating freedom and being able to celebrate this great nation."

People were allowed to line up along University Avenue starting July 3rd at 3:00p.m. Parade goers will be allowed to stake out spots on the other parts of the parade route starting at 5:00 a.m. Friday.