Provo on lookout for parade squatters prior to 3 p.m.

Provo on lookout for parade squatters prior to 3 p.m.

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PROVO -- Provo police are discouraging parade-goers from staking out a spot too early for Saturday's Freedom Festival Parade.

An ordinance that went into effect last year allows parade-goers to set up on University Avenue no earlier than 3 p.m. Friday. Spectators won't be able to set up on Center Street until 5 a.m. Saturday because it is a residential area.

Lt. Todd Grossgebower of the Provo Police Department said, "Once one person sets up, everybody says, ‘Well, they're doing it so I'm going to do it.'"

He says city employees will be on hand Friday beginning at 11 a.m. to monitor the areas and move along any would-be squatters. Parade-goers are welcome to walk the sidewalks and patronize businesses but can't set up chairs or anything else that would stake out a spot on the street before 3.

Last year about 15,000 people lined University Avenue. Some of them camped in the area before the allowed time.

"We had a few of those who chose not to follow the directions," Grossbebower said. "When you have 10,000 to 20,000 people it's kind of hard to address all of those on an individual basis."

Provo City posted signs along the parade route last week explaining the rules.

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