PUEBLO WEST, Colo. - Parking and crowd control have become a growing concern for authorities and organizers at the Wet Parade held every Independence Day along Joe Martinez Boulevard in Pueblo West.
Carol Cosby, the town's director of parks and recreation, said between 15,000 and 17,000 people attended the parade that started at 10 a.m. Friday and lasted about an hour.
"We need to figure out what to do with all the (vehicles) that want to park," she said. "The problem is people are parking around intersections and that can affect traffic safety."
Cosby was surprised when told that there is no left turn signal at the intersection of southbound McCulloch and southbound Joe Martniez boulevards -- a situation that resulted in a long line of traffic waiting to turn left against oncoming traffic on McCulloch.
"I wasn't aware of that," she said. "We definitely need to look at that."
Traffic congestion for the event was such that spectators began parking along the parade route on Wednesday, two days before the parade.
"A lot of people came late last year and lost their parking spaces," Cosby explained.
In another first for the event, Cosby said organizers used rope as barricades to keep spectators from being hurt by getting too close to parade floats.
"I'm actually pleased with how well they worked," she said. "Sometimes the rope moved with the people, but it was effective. We've had people hurt before and we want to avoid that in the future."
The parade is popular for water battles held among spectators and float riders. Water cannons, squirt guns and even hoses are used. People bring large water tanks for ammunition or use the beds of pickup trucks.
A fun run, car show and vendor sales were among the events held Saturday in Pueblo West to celebrate the holiday.