The largest crowd to ever descend upon Golden Spike National Historic Park created a lot of buzz, excitement, and exposure for Box Elder County.
The Golden Spike sesquicentennial also created a significant challenge for local law enforcement, which had to contain tens of thousands of visitors and make sure the three-day celebration happened in the safest manner possible.
Dale Ward, chief deputy for the Box Elder County Sheriffs Office, said things went very smoothly for the most part. Despite seeing crowds of about 20,000 for the main event on Friday, May 10, with thousands more over the weekend, Ward said the event went off peacefully and in a mostly organized fashion.
“There were no major issues as far as any protests, threats, incidents, etc. outside the ordinary that you see at locations of mass gatherings,” Ward wrote in an email.
He said the sheriff’s office received a total of 19 calls at the park during the event, and most of those were routine for any such event, such as lost children, separated parties, lost property and medical calls.
There was one fatality at the event, however. A medical call came in for a man going into cardiac arrest just 30 minutes into the first day on Friday, and even with an abundance of resources in place to respond to such calls, the 70-year-old man from Arizona died at the scene.
There was another medical incident at about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, when a 59-year-old woman was having difficulty breathing and passed out, Ward said. She was treated at the scene and later transported to Brigham City Community Hospital.
Other than that, Ward said the massive undertaking went about as well as anyone could have hoped.
“Overall, this was a great event,” he said.