For the first time this year, our family decided to go to the fireworks show in Paso Robles. The reason we have avoided this event in the past, is the fear of getting trapped in the traffic getting out of Barney Schwartz Park. This year the paper claimed the Paso Robles Police Department had it all worked out and were going to quickly move traffic out of the parking area.
Believing that, we even paid five bucks to get better parking in a lot right next door to the park. We thought that was the wise choice—boy were we wrong.
The actual show was fine; hiking back to the car was not really a problem, either. The two-hour wait we experienced trying to get out of the parking lot was a nightmare. Nobody, not even the cars already on the road, moved for 45 minutes. Then, when we finally got in line to get out of the parking lot, we noticed all the cars from the parking lot next door were already gone, leaving us to be the last out.
If any one of the hundreds of people trapped in that lineup had any sort of emergency, there was no way to even get to anyone. What scares me the most is that this is a planned annual event, not an emergency. How would they handle a last-minute evacuation? With the cost of gas, I am proud of the people in line, everyone handled it well, and no one freaked out.
I am glad I learned a lesson from that event—one that I will be attending next year on a nearby hillside.