Park City’s jammed Main Street pedestrian days could influence Silly Market talks
The Park Silly Sunday Market in the spring canceled the 2020 season, as worries persisted about the danger of the novel coronavirus spreading through the weekly arts, crafts and food gathering on Main Street.
The Silly Market would typically run from June through the early fall and draw upward of 13,000 people each week. This summer and fall, without the Silly Market anchoring Sundays, City Hall and Main Street businesses reached an agreement to turn the shopping, dining and entertainment strip into a pedestrian-only zone on Sundays. The pedestrian days were meant to attract people to Main Street during what was expected to be an uncertain summer for business. The pedestrian zone offered the opportunity to stroll outside with the ability to practice social distancing more easily than if the crowds were kept on the sidewalks.
As the various parties involved in Main Street decisions prepare to begin discussions about next summer, the pedestrian days are expected to be heavily debated with the return of the Silly Market also likely to be an important point in the talks. The Main Street pedestrian zone was jammed on many of the Sundays this year, and some businesses were pleased with their sales numbers on Sundays. The apparent success of the Sunday pedestrian days could be influential in talks about the Silly Market.
The leadership of the Historic Park City Alliance, the group that represents the interests of businesses in the Main Street core, was anticipated to touch on the Silly Market at a meeting that was scheduled on Tuesday. It was not clear what sort of progress was expected on Tuesday, and the topic is slated to be discussed again at a Historic Park City Alliance meeting in November. The agenda for the Tuesday meeting indicated “Many merchants have inquired as to the status of the Park Silly Sunday Market contract, especially after viewing Sunday business in 2020 on car-free Sundays.”
Main Street businesses have long held differing opinions about the Silly Market, which is centered on lower Main Street with some offerings on the upper stretch of the street. There have been questions about whether the Silly Market benefits sales along the entire street or whether the benefits are concentrated toward lower Main Street. The crowds at the pedestrian days in 2020 appeared to more consistently move up and down the street.
In an interview prior to the scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Alison Kuhlow, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said some of the businesses on Main Street are wondering whether sales on Sundays were stronger on pedestrian days this year than they were on Silly Market days in previous years. She said businesses across sectors and in a variety of locations are raising the question. Some have reported an increase in Sunday sales this year compared to previous years when the Silly Market was held, she said.
Kuhlow, though, also said there are other businesses describing a drop in sales during the pedestrian days this year when put against Sundays of Silly Market.
The Historic Park City Alliance plans to conduct a survey of members regarding the topic. The survey is expected to be taken by the middle of November.
The Park Record was unable to contact a representative of the Silly Market.
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