To the editor:
I want to tell you about my experience on Friday at the Karnival on the Kam. I want to share it because I think some people may be able to sympathize with it. They may also want to know they’re not alone. I think Friday nights experience needs some criticism so that it doesn’t happen again.
Thursday, my weekend closing in and I read it, the article on a local news website. Advertised as ‘”Canada’s largest’ fireworks display”, “4000 large-calibre fireworks”, I was instantly sold. I knew I had to buy tickets and bring my family, picking up tickets later that evening.
This experience, I’m sure of, was how many came to attend the Karnival on Friday. I know this because the article had been shared ‘4314’ times when I checked Friday morning, compare that to the other big news from Friday morning, with 4086 shares, and I’d say that pretty much everybody in Thunder Bay knew about the Fireworks.
It’s Friday, the weekend has come. We head to the Karnival just around supper and spend the evening watching shows, having a good time, and eating the same deep fried food all evening. Then it happens, the fireworks certainly lived up to the expectation. The narration and coordination of the show was incredibly done, it made me reminiscent of my childhood and the fireworks at Epcot in DisneyWorld.
The fireworks show comes to an end and we scramble to escape the madness. I knew that it would be crazy, but my family and I couldn’t have prepared for the mayhem that was about to ensue. We were a few out of thousands who headed towards our cars. While walking from the Fort to the main visitor centre, we hit a bottle neck at the stairs. My first frustrating realization was when I saw Fort staff directing the hordes of people through a single side door into the main entrance before continuing on to the parking lot. We got to our vehicle and I quickly took stock of the traffic situation. We had parked about 80 metres from the visitors centre and about 50 metres from the paved road out. I’m not sure what staff and managers were expecting, but they clearly had not planned for the traffic well. It took close to an hour to travel from our parking spot to the paved road way just 50 metres away, where three streams of traffic were converging together to travel toward Broadway. Once we were on the paved road, my frustration elevated at what I saw happening, the high-density parking close to the visitor centre was being prioritized below those who parked furthest away. My frustration escalated further when I saw numerous drivers being directed to leave before the immense congestion further back; knowing they had just recently arrived if they had parked that far back. At this point we had driven about 80 metres in an hour and a half. We were tired, fed up with the situation, the ruthless attitudes of our fellow drivers, squeezing in where possible, we just wanted to get home like everybody else. But the damage had been done. The elation and glow from the astonishing firework display was gone, a taint being left on the experience which had been great up to this point.
In the end, it took us nearly two and a half hours from end of fireworks to getting home, which was a 10 minute drive on any other day. I have to believe that there are others who went through much the same experience as my family did. My hats go off to FWHP for putting on such a great day simply to fall flat on their face and taint the experience at the end by poor traffic management.