Yes, Silly, the market is staying on Main Street |

Yes, Silly, the market is staying on Main Street

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The Park Silly Sunday Market, shown in 2013, draws large crowds to lower Main Street during the summer and fall. Silly Market organizers and Park City leaders on Thursday reached an agreement to keep the event on Main Street in 2014, 2015 and 2016. File photo by Nan Chalat-Noaker/Park Record

City Hall and the organizers of the Park Silly Sunday Market on Thursday reached an agreement to keep the popular summertime event on Main Street through at least 2016, crafting a deal without the tension that has marked earlier negotiations between the market and Park City leaders.

The agreement covers the Silly Markets in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The Silly Market, centered on lower Main Street but occupying a few spots uphill from Heber Avenue as well, runs on Sundays annually in the summer and early fall. The Silly Market’s eclectic collection of arts, crafts and other merchandise vendors alongside food booths, entertainers and a farmer’s market has become a summertime draw since it debuted in 2007.

The Park City Council approved the agreement on a unanimous vote. The elected officials did not spend extensive time on the topic. City Councilor Liza Simpson noted that a group seated to address Silly Market issues has been "incredibly successful."

The three-year agreement does not call for changes in the layout of the market, something that has entangled discussions in the past. Silly Market organizers in previous years have tinkered with the layout in an effort to draw more people up Main Street in what was a concession to businesses on the south of Heber Avenue.

The Silly Market will be graded after each year on a set of benchmarks, including the mix of vendors and marketing efforts, according to a City Hall report submitted to Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council beforehand.

Kate Boyd, the Silly Market’s director of operations, said in an interview after the vote organizers did not consider another location for the event as the talks were unfolding. In the past year the Silly Market has contemplated moving the event to another site before reaching an agreement to remain on Main Street.

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"It allows us to keep going in the right direction. It allows us to stay on Main Street," Boyd said about the three-year deal approved on Thursday.

Alison Butz, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, a business group, addressed the elected officials prior to the vote, saying that the organization is pleased with that the vendor mix is moving toward more handmade items. Butz also said she wants City Hall to ensure sales taxes are collected on items sold at the Silly Market.

The municipal government will continue to provide subsidies to the Silly Market over the three years. The subsidies will be given on a descending scale, however. The cash subsidy will be $50,000 in 2014. It will fall to $45,000 in 2015 and then $40,000 in 2016. The subsidy in 2013 was $65,000. City Hall, meanwhile, agreed to waive approximately $42,000 in fees annually between 2014 and 2016, about the same amount as it did in 2013.

The agreement also calls for information to be shared earlier in the year about the impacts the Tour of Utah bicycle race could have on the Silly Market. The Tour of Utah draws large crowds and the race course has included Main Street.

The deal was reached a little more than a year after City Hall and the Silly Market entered into what was seen as a stopgap agreement that covered the event’s 2013 run on Main Street. The sides at that time indicated they would engage in more extensive discussions in the hopes of a multiyear contract like the one that was approved on Thursday.