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Park City exploring possible changes to the Silly Market

Discussions underway about long-term possibilities for event

Pamela Manson
The Park Record
Park City and the leadership of the Park Silly Sunday Market on Thursday talked about making changes to the event beginning next year.
Park Record file photo

There could be some changes in the annual Park Silly Sunday Market in 2023.

Kate McChesney, the Silly Market’s executive director, notified City Hall in an April 11 letter that the nonprofit’s leaders would like to start contract discussions aimed at continuing to hold the event on Main Street.

The initial terms requested were for a seven- to 10-year contract that retains the existing schedule of 14 Sundays and operating hours of 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The organization also asked that Park City continue to waive city fees totaling about $60,000 for building permits and parking, among other costs.



But the Park City Council on Thursday directed municipal staff members to start a stakeholder engagement process to discuss possible changes in the Silly Market. The stakeholders will include residents, merchants, the Historic Park City Alliance, the Park City Chamber/Bureau and others.

“We can rethink the whole thing,” City Councilor Tana Toly said. “I think there’s the ability for us to go to the stakeholder groups and say, ‘Maybe you want it on a Wednesday. Do you want it to be on Main Street?’ I’ve heard so many different ideas around this community on location, days, time of day, what it entails, and I think this is an opportunity to bring that out. If we’re going to go to the community, then everything should be on the table.”



No vote was taken at Thursday’s meeting but the councilors said they preferred a shorter contract, in the three- to five-year range.

The Silly Market is an ecofriendly open-air artist and farmers market and street festival held on Main Street. It was launched in 2007 and has been a popular attraction.

This is the last year of the current agreement, which is a three-year contract with a two-year renewal that began in 2018 and expires Sept. 30. The 2020 event was canceled because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

McChesney told the City Council at Thursday’s meeting that since the Silly Market began, “one of the biggest missions was to bring the community together.” The market also has given people the opportunity to create new businesses, she said.

A Park City staff report says the organization has incubated local businesses and supports more than 140 local artists, farmers, nonprofits and Main Street businesses. Silly Market is a “quality partner” that works to reduce impacts on residents and businesses, according to the report.

“In addition, PSSM pioneered the highest sustainability goals out of any other event, continues to meet 76% zero-waste, and created other programs such as Bike Valet and the Feed the Pigs composting program,” the report says.

For this year’s event, the City Council voted unanimously on April 7 to bring the number of vendors to pre-pandemic levels of 160 per market, for a total of 2,248 sellers throughout the season.

The 2022 vendor mix will be no more than 12 on-site food vendors, 12 jewelers or six importers at each market. The vendors are unique each week.

Organizers are estimating that total attendance at this year’s Silly Market will reach 225,000. The event will be held June 5 through Sept. 25 on Sundays, excluding Aug. 7, Aug. 14 and Aug. 21.


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