It was 23 degrees and snowing in Park City, Utah, on Saturday, but that didn’t stop thousands from showing up for the ski town’s Women’s March, which was spearheaded by Chelsea Handler. The turnout was no doubt bolstered by the crowds in town for the Sundance Film Festival, which began Thursday.
“I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I had a shot of bourbon at 7 in the morning,” said a woman decked out in a furry vest and matching boots as she nursed an Irish coffee while waiting for a bus to take her to the march. The city’s free buses were stuffed with people, and the highway from Salt Lake City had turned into a parking lot, but there were still plenty of people holding signs aloft, ready to walk.
The first marchers assembled at the designated gathering spot — a bar parking lot at one end of Main Street — about 8 a.m., biding their time before the 9 a.m. march by taking photos of one another’s signs. One little girl was particularly popular, with a poster that read, “Legalize empathy.”
“That’s a future president,” one woman predicted, as she photographed the girl.
Jonda McCuthchan had come with friends from Salt Lake City, and they carried black signs reading, “I’ve got my eye on you, p—- grabber!”
Who came up with that slogan?
“Key and Peele,” McCuthchan admitted, identifying the comedy duo whose recent skit on “The Daily Show” gave her the idea. She says she watched the inauguration Friday, “the whole thing.” Her friends, however, opted out, preferring to pretend that President Trump wasn’t, in fact, ascending to power. They were all wearing black, they said, as a form of mourning.
“I hope someone’s taking charge of this thing,” a man told a nearby woman in a pink baseball cap as soon as the clock struck 9.
“We’ll give them a few more minutes before I take charge,” she replied.
It didn’t come to that. Pretty soon, the crowd was meandering down Main Street, chanting, “Love, not hate, makes America great.”
The march ended in a rally, with Handler and actress Mary McCormack (“The West Wing”) speaking first. McCormack acknowledged that a four-block march wasn’t necessarily the longest of the many demonstrations taking place around the country. “But it’s four blocks at 7,000 feet,” she said. “That’s like 12 blocks in Washington.”
Handler and McCormick sang the praises of Planned Parenthood before turning over the microphone to actor Benjamin Bratt and his brother Peter Bratt (director of the documentary “Dolores” about labor organizer Dolores Huerta). Huerta herself was on hand too, leading a chant of, “Si, se puede” (“Yes, we can”). Barack Obama may have her to thank for his campaign slogan, but that’s not the only reason he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The crowd was peppered with celebrities: Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart, along with “Bridesmaids” star Chris O’Dowd, who arrived alone, trying to remain inconspicuous beneath a fur-trimmed hood. O’Dowd was in town for the premiere of “The Incredible Jessica James” with his co-star, Jessica Williams. Williams was one of the speakers at the post-march rally.
In her remarks, the former correspondent on “The Daily Show” said she was sure her ancestors would have been proud of her. They fought for her to stand here today, she joked, “in front of a bunch of white people wearing Uggs.”
Nicola Nelson, from North Salt Lake, was also there with friends. She’s been keeping busy since the election, she said, meeting with the League of Women Voters and with politicians, voicing her concerns. She plans to attend Monday’s Salt Lake City march, which is set to coincide with the return of the state legislature.
“Watching is great,” Nelson said, as she surveyed the crowd, while making it clear that nothing beats action.