After canceling 2020 season, Park Silly Sunday Market unveils vendor directory
The Park Silly Sunday Market opened on June 7, but not in the way it has for the past 14 years.
Because of COVID-19, the open-air street fair decided to surf the digital wave and unveil its new vendor directory, said Executive Director Kate McChesney. The move came after organizers canceled the popular market on Main Street, which draws thousands of people each week, for safety reasons.
“June 7 was supposed to be the opening day for our 2020 season, so we thought it would be good timing to do this,” she said.
The directory, which currently has about 90 vendors that have showcased at Park Silly since 2017, will be updated regularly through Sept. 27, which would have been this year’s closing date, according to McChesney.
“It’s a live document, so vendors are submitting their information as we speak,” she said.
A few weeks ago, the market sent more than 500 vendors a link to fill out to be included in the directory.
“We gave them instructions to fill out their contact information, add a photo and give us any general information,” McChesney said. “That way they can decide to put in as much or as little as they wanted.”
Once a vendor sends back the link and McChesney approves it, the webmaster, Sebastian Broways posts it online.
“Sebastian has been with us since the beginning, and started working with him when he was in college,” McChesney said. “He has a good feel for the market, and he can take whatever we tell him and he makes it work. He used to live in Park City, but he now lives in Austin, Texas.”
McChesney had thought about developing a vendor directory for a few years, and her idea became a reality with the help of a $12,500 grant from Salt Lake City-based marketing agency ThoughtLab last month.
The grant not only helped Park Silly get the vendors search engine optimization, ThoughtLab is also marketing the directory in different mediums, McChesney said.
The grant came at the right time, due to the market’s finances, she said.
“We had to return all of the 2020 vendors’ application money and that didn’t leave us a whole lot in the bank,” she said. “We also knew if we didn’t have money in the bank, our vendors were more impacted than we were, so we needed to get this directory up to direct people their way and make some purchases.”
The directory is divided into 11 categories, which include arts, nonprofits, clothing and farmers, according to McChesney.
“Those are the categories that people fill out when they apply for the market,” she said. “The only change we did was put jewelry into the artisan category, because we usually had jewelry on its own.”
Although the Park Silly Sunday Market didn’t open physically this year, opening virtually made McChesney nostalgic as she looked at the list of past vendors.
“It felt good to have a reminder that we have affected someone’s life,” she said. “It’s amazing to hear that one of our vendors has opened a brick-and-mortar business, or that one of the vendors has made an impact on one of the market’s attendees. I mean, I get emails from people who bought something from a vendor and want to connect with them again.”
The directory will still be active after Sept. 7, and McChesney is tossing around the idea of using it to launch an e-commerce site.
“We may open it up to non-Silly Market vendors,” she said.
Still, McChesney said there is nothing like physically opening the market on lower Main Street.
“We just didn’t feel comfortable hosting 15,000 people in a two-block radius this year,” she said. “So I can’t wait until we’re back on the street where we belong.”
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Jonathan Kolon will honor Park City and mark the trials the country has gone through with COVID-19 when he releases his new song “This Highway Ends” on April 30.