KAYSVILLE -- The Fourth of July celebration may never be the same if the city can't find a way to improve the safety of its annual water parade.
The city council recently discussed a proposal by the parade committee to evaluate the safety of the water portion of the parade, and to consider the possibility of discontinuing the 15-year tradition.
Kaysville's parade consists of a traditional parade followed by a water portion, which consists of a water fight between parade entries and the viewing public.
There is a break between the two events, allowing those who do not want to get wet to leave the area. The water portion is limited to the parade route along Main Street.
Stroh DeCaire, in his fourth year as the chairman of the parade committee, expressed the committee's concerns about the dangers of children playing around moving vehicles during the water portion.
He also indicated that the number of registrants for the water parade has declined.
In 2011, there were only three registrants; however, many spectators bring supplies to participate in the water fight.
DeCaire told the council that in the past five parades there have been two significant injuries as a direct result of the water parade, both of which were caused by a vehicle running over a person's legs or feet.
"The injuries were serious, but not life-threatening," DeCaire said.
Police Sgt. Paul Thompson, who also serves on the parade committee, said he initiated the conversation concerning the safety of the water parade.
"What's probably the biggest concern is that these are not adults that are being injured, these are children," Thompson said. Both incidents involved children younger than 15.
"My purpose was simply to get a conversation going and maybe promote some education of what is going on, and suggest ways to make it safer, or flat out eliminate it, based on the purpose of safety," Thompson said.
Concerns were also expressed that police officers patrolling the parade route often become targets, endangering the expensive equipment carried by each officer.
Mayor Steve Hiatt was hesitant to make any changes to this years' parade.
"One of the things I've learned in my years in the council and my years living in Kaysville is that you don't mess with tradition unless you've taken a real close look at it," Hiatt said.
Hiatt suggested that the committee take a closer look at how the safety of the parade can be improved before doing away with it entirely.
John McCleary, former parade chairman who initiated the water parade, asked council members to continue the tradition. He requested that they work to increase the safety of the event rather than cancel it.
"I really believe that there are enough citizens in our city that we could get a group of people to monitor that water section," McCleary said.
Several residents in attendance praised the benefits of the water parade, and asked the council to keep it.
Hiatt asked the committee to take a look at what can be done to increase the safety of the event, and to evaluate the cost of such improvements.
He estimated that the number of people who attend the parade each year has quadrupled in 11 years, but the amount of security and regulatory volunteers has not changed.
"Overall, the parade has outgrown itself," Thompson said. "We need to begin the communication process and address these issues before they become more serious."
"We'd like to keep it if we can, but we need to determine how much it will cost to keep it safe," Hiatt said.
The water parade will continue this year with some increased safety requirements, such as pedestrian spotters for each wheel of a moving vehicle.
The parade committee will take a closer look at its viability to determine if it will continue in 2013.