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A decade of Park Silly Sunday Market

The Park Silly Sunday Market, the weekly, ecofriendly, open-air street festival and community forum turns 10 this year. (Park Record file photo)
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The weekly, ecofriendly, open-air artist and farmers market, street festival and community forum will turn 10 when the gates open tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Ten years — that’s approximately 3,652 days (leap year days included) — and Co-founder/CEO Kimberly Kuehn, Executive Director Kate McChesney and Director of Operations Michelle McDonald are more than happy.

"We couldn’t have done this without the support of Park City and community," Kuehn said. "It’s beautiful because we all come together to shine and the tourists come and see our true colors."

To commemorate the decade-long run, a celebration will be held at the Market’s main stage at 1:30 p.m., McChesney said.

"We’ll raise a community toast to the town," she said. "We have invited our founders, prior employees, mayor, volunteers, city council, business owners — anyone who has had a huge impact on us — to the main stage for a big thank you."

Deer Valley’s Snow Park Bakery is making a cake that they will donate for the ceremony.

"We’ll cut it up and give out pieces to the public as long as it lasts," McChesney said.

While Park Silly Sunday Market has grown since its inception, the mission remains the same.

"The things that stand true are the zero-waste recycling initiatives and making sure we have free space for nonprofits and organizations about sustainable issues to keep the community informed," McChesney explained. "We also offer free space for featured artists and a Park City performing artist and a historic Main Street merchant."

The market offers seven free spaces for nonprofits on 7th Street, according to McDonald.

"This year, some new nonprofits will join us," she said.

Two of those organizations include Make-a-Wish Foundation and Wild Heart Sanctuary (reinfree.org), an equine-rescue organization.

"We also have the typical Park City kids, dogs and trails nonprofits including Nuzzles & Co., Peace House, Mountain Trails Foundation, Mountain Town Community Solar and Cancer Wellness House that will be part of the market again this year," she said. "We still have space available for nonprofits later in the summer and they can find the application on our website (http://www.parksillysundaymarket.com)."

Of course there are also the artists, musicians, Bloody Mary bar, food and a Farmer’s Market.

"The farmers market has come a long way, because it was hard to get them to come on a Sunday," McChesney said. "So, now it’s great to have a bunch of farmers come sell at the market every week."

Another highlight is seeing grassroots businesses outgrow the Market, according to McDonald.

"While I hate to tell you who won’t be at the Market, we have to say that Red Bicycle Bread won’t be with us this year," she said. "That’s because they have done so well and are taking on other endeavors. It’s sad, but we are so proud of them. It feels so good to see them walk away, knowing we accomplished something together."

Park Silly Sunday Market started with an idea from Kuehn and her partners, Jewels Harrison and Julie Doerr-Arenson.

"Ten years ago, we weren’t getting a lot of people on Main Street on Sunday," Kuehn said. "We wanted to bring people to Main Street and help small business owners become big business owners."

The first year the market featured 40 venders and now it averages 170 vendors each week, McDonald said.

"We have built a reputation among artists and entrepreneurs who want to get involved, attend and vend at the market," she said. "We have people who travel from states away to participate, and this has definitely changed the atmosphere of the street."

Each Sunday through Sept. 18, the market attracts approximately 14,000 people, according to McChesney.

"On top of that, we estimate 20,000 people on holiday weekends, like this upcoming July 3," she said.

National and regional recognition has also helped Park Silly attract crowds.

"We have won a lot of rewards and have been praised by Trip Advisor and Travel and Leisure [websites]," Kuehn said. "It’s been rewarding and surprising, because you just never know what will happen. We certainly didn’t.

"It’s great to see stores and buyers, who are looking for a new product, come to the market to see what businesses are showing," she said. "It’s been great to see that economic growth for not only Park City, but for the state of Utah."

Still, along with the accolades and crowds, come challenges.

"We have to make sure all of our security measures are up to and beyond par," McChesney said. "We want the market to be a pleasant experience for everyone and that can be a challenge, especially because we’re a free event. Our patrons should never feel our pain."

McChesney said Park Silly Sunday Market can always use volunteers.

"It takes 40 volunteers to run an entire day and they do everything from checking IDs at the beer garden to the security watch points, bounce houses, farmers market, information booths and greeting guests," she said. "We ask them to do at least four hours and we give them lunch. Some volunteer all day.

"Anyone who has community service or school requirements to fulfill, we’ll be happy to sign them off on that," McDonald said. "Any parent who wants to discipline their kids are welcome to contact us. We can take volunteers as young as 13. We will put them to work."

The Park Silly Sunday Market will open on historic Main Street on Sunday, June 5, at 10 a.m. and will run through Sunday, Sept. 18, except for Aug. 7 and 14. For more information, visit http://www.parksillysundaymarket.com.


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