By the 5 p.m. ribbon cutting of Ketchum's Town Square, almost every paver was covered by someone's shadow. People of all ages waited in the long line to LeRoy's Ice Cream. Children were getting their faces painted or Hullahooping. And adults were holding cups of beer and talking in standing groups while children ran around their legs.
The square's first party was abuzz.
But when 11-year-old Jackelyn De la Cruz walked up on stage on Friday, the mass collectively quieted. The Girl Scout raised her arms and positioned a trumpet's mouthpiece against her lips. The tinny sound began to flow, with the notes of the Star Spangled Banner immediately evident.
Ketchum Town Square—at the intersection of Fourth Street and East Avenue—had officially opened after two months of intense construction and five months of fundraising to meet the project's $500,000 cost.
Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall deemed the square a success.
"I feel like it's Disneyland there are so many people here," he said at the grand opening but didn't take credit for the square.
The city owns the square's land and contributed $160,000 to the project, but the city didn't design it, raise funds or see it through construction. The Ketchum Community Development Corp. did all that, with its volunteer members having started planning in October.
"Let's face it, once in a while government does things right," Hall said. "And this time government stepped out."
He said this proved to be for the best, as the community stepped up by donating money and time to the square.
During planning, the CDC remarked that the square would serve as the heart of downtown Ketchum, drawing people together and acting as the center of the commercial core.
In Hall's closing remarks, he told everyone to be quiet and listen. He tapped his thumb against the microphone in a slow repeated rhythm.
"That's the collective heartbeat of Ketchum," he said and stepped off the stage, letting the party roll on to the beat of the Bruce Innes Trio.
Trevon Milliard: firstname.lastname@example.org