Main Street will get silly this summer
Three friends shared a bottle of wine and decided there was something missing in Park City.
"We just were all on board with the idea that there was a gap in Park City," said Jewels Harrison," program director for the Park Silly Sunday Market. "The main thing is, there’s not enough for the locals anymore."
Harrison, along with Kimberly Kuehn and Julie Doerr-Arenson, feared Park City was trending like other resort communities they have seen.
Harrison said resort towns like Aspen "were incredible places in the ’70s." She said the towns had a strong community feel until housing prices skyrocketed.
"People had to move away then they were empty, soulless tourist towns," Harrison said.
Harrison, however, observed a return to the ’70s community feel among resort towns in recent years, partly because of weekly markets during the summer.
"In the last several years they made an effort to create this and they started with a local market. They have been a huge success," Harrison said.
The trio decided this "common phenomena among ski towns" is what Park City needed.
"We’ve traveled to several ski resorts and we went to great markets. It’s a missing link to Park City," said Kuehn, the executive director of the Park Silly Market. "We did research for quite a few months in Sun Valley, Vail, Aspen and markets in Virginia and California. We molded our research that we compiled for the Park City Market."
For the last year, they’ve been developing the Park Silly Sunday Market. It will run every Sunday on lower Main Street from Heber Ave. through the Trolley Turnaround on June 17 through Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is currently accepting vendor applications.
The name comes from a generation of Park Sillians that Harrison says are in town.
"What we think makes Park City special is our community of Park Sillians," Harrison said. "We all just take each other for who we are. That’s essentially the concept of the Park Sillians. We want to gather together and catch up and have fun and have a reason to stay here."
Harrison said Parkites from the ’70s referred to themselves as Park Sillians. Now she says they are gradually leaving. She hopes the market will help keep more Park Sillians in town.
"The housing market has skyrocketed and our Park Sillians have moved to other places like Oakley and Kamas. This was a way to keep this a great place to live," Harrison said.
The market will showcase eclectic local and regional arts and crafts, music, antiques, imports, gourmet foods and farmers market fruits and vegetables.
The Park Silly Market’s intent is not to compete with the Wednesday Farmers Market at The Canyons, however.
"We feel that there is room for the Wednesday market and the Sunday market," Kuehn said. "We support it and our goal is not to wipe away the Wednesday market."
The Park Silly Market is designed more as an event where people can come and hang out with their fellow Parkites.
"This is more of a community forum," Kuehn said. "Come have a cup of coffee, get breakfast and lunch and get some cool stuff."
Park City businesses and non-profits are also invited to occupy booths in the market. There will be free space for non-profits that can use the venue as a community forum. Residents can sell items from home instead of having a yard sale.
"They can just come and set out a blanket in a space at the Sunday market and have a sale," Kuehn said. "There are a lot of condos here where you can’t have a yard sale."
If successful, the venue will help businesses and the community alike.
"The Chamber/Bureau is behind the event," said Bob Kollar, director of special events for the Park City Chamber/Bureau. "The idea was to create an open air market appealing mostly for locals as well as visitors and to create a marketplace for artists. It has grown from that to include a farmers market component and live entertainment."
Kollar can see why it may benefit the town.
"In the eyes of Kimberly (Kuehn), they had come from other resort towns and felt that in each of those towns they all had something like this," Kollar said. "It was sort of a place to hang out."
Kollar said they want to create an environment somewhat like the free concerts with Mountain Town Stages where locals come, not only for music, but to see friends in a social environment.
"I think that’s what they want to create," Kollar said. "They’ll come on Sundays and hang out for a couple hours."
Kollar believes the more options for the town to socialize, the better.
"If people find it inviting and it creates a nice place for people to go, we could consider it a success," Kollar said. "We were supportive so we thought, ‘let’s see how it works for a year.’"
The Chamber/Bureau advised the trio to go through all the steps to get support for the event. When something like this is proposed, "you have to take into account parking and closing streets and how it affects retailers on Main," Kollar said.
"They’ve done a good job in getting the word out to the people who are going to be directly affected by it," Kollar said.
This could potentially, help the Main Street businesses as well.
"You can never have too many people coming to your store or being out in front of it," Kollar said.
"We can’t force people to buy, we can just create opportunities," Kollar said.
The market will change every week with a particular theme.
"Our first Sunday is on Father’s Day," Harrison said. "At this point, it’s on the theme of our Founding Fathers."
The theme idea is to make a reason for Parkites to be interested in the market every week.
"We’ll have various crazy themes every Sunday," Harrison said. "Some will be around home and garden and people offering outdoor furniture, seeds and plants. We’ll play with the seasons as well."
The market will also cater to Mother Earth.
"The open-air market is eco-friendly," Kuehn said. "We are really focusing on that. We want to be that way, we want to be part of the community where we are taking action."
The market will utilize recycling bins, combustible plastics, and even starch-utensils.
"We’re hoping by the end of the day there will be little trash," Harrison said.
The Park Silly Sunday Market is currently accepting applications to be featured Sundays on Main Street from June 17 until Oct. 14, excluding the Kimball Arts Festival weekend. To be involved, got to http://www.parksillysundaymarket.com and download an application. Booths spots range from $20 to $30, there is a 15 percent discount for vendors that apply by March 31. The deadline for applying is May 1. After that, vendors will not be guaranteed a spot. Non-profit groups can rent a spot for free. Blanket Vendors who are selling yard sale items can sign up on a weekly basis. For more information, call 655-0994, or 901-0511.
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Thanks to COVID-19 cutting into visitation numbers, Park City’s seasonal workforce is sufficient. In any other winter, “the hiring situation would be dire.”