PARK CITY, Utah — On Saturday, an estimated 8,000 men, women, and children converged on Park City, Utah, to take part in the Women’s March on Main, a satellite event coinciding with the Women’s March in Washington, DC, and many others around the country and the world.
As luck would have it, the march coincided with the first Saturday of the Sundance Film Festival — when Main Street is usually clogged with premieres, parties, stars, filmmakers, and attendees. They were all there too. But that morning, the march overtook the town.
The snow fell fast and wet, but Utahns were undaunted, pouring into the designated starting location — a parking lot behind the Wasatch Brew Pub — with their signs, hats, and very tall snow boots.
Judging from the chatter, a majority of marchers were locals, and banners that proclaimed affiliations from Summit County Democrats to the Sierra Club were everywhere, along with homemade signs held by people of all ages and genders. The most visible organization was Planned Parenthood, which handed out signs, hats, and hand warmers to the crowd. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that some drove from as far away as Evanston, Wyoming (63 miles), and Ogden, Utah (nearly 70 miles), in terrible weather to take part.
Park City is not far from Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City. The city is known as the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the hometown of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (which sang at the inauguration festivities in DC on Friday). As far as I know, no visibly Mormon groups were in attendance at the Park City march, but the comments on a post on a Facebook group for Mormon Democrats reveals that many Mormons were present at the marches in Park City, DC, and other cities.
The marchers proceeded down Main Street for four blocks — Park City is a ski resort town, and it’s not that big — before turning and ending with a rally in a nearby parking lot on Swede Alley. The rally, which was packed and overflowed into nearby streets, was headlined by performers, journalists, and politicians including Chelsea Handler, Maria Bello, Kimberly Peirce, Jessica Williams, Mary McCormack, Aisha Tyler, and others. Several spoke forcefully in support of Planned Parenthood. Laurie David, producer of An Inconvenient Truth and its follow-up, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (which premiered at the festival on Thursday night), spoke about climate change and support for science. Longtime activist Dolores Huerta, subject of the documentary Dolores, which is playing at the festival, called attendees to organize.
Along with the march organizers, the Sundance Institute and the festival took care to emphasize that the march was not associated in any way with Sundance. (In fact, the festival founder, Robert Redford, held his annual high-profile breakfast for directors the same morning.) Many press and industry members were in screenings or interviews during the march.
But festival-goers were inevitably mingled with locals in the crowd, including filmmakers, actors, and others, some of whom wore “I’m with Meryl” stickers (referring to Meryl Streep’s controversial speech at the Golden Globes several weeks ago). I spotted Anya Taylor-Joy, who’s currently starring in Split and broke out with The Witch at Sundance in 2015:
Other actors tweeted selfies, or were snapped by fans:
And there was at least one interloper:
The march dispersed shortly after 11 am, after which many attendees flooded the restaurants on Main Street. (It’s not clear if it’s related, but the Sundance box office and wireless internet were shut down during the march, which the festival said was due to a cyberattack.) But as late as 4 pm, there were still whoops up and down Main Street, usually echoed by others. A Ford Bronco drove down Main Street blaring Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” on repeat. Protest signs weren’t abandoned so much as stuck upright into snow banks along the alleys. It was still cold and wet in Park City, but spirits didn’t seem dampened at all.
Note: this post was updated to reflect Mormon presence at the March.