Park Silly Sunday Market June opening remains intact, but date depends on health situation |

Park Silly Sunday Market June opening remains intact, but date depends on health situation

The Park Silly Sunday Market draws large crowds to Main Street in the summer and early fall.
Park Record file photo

Parkites by early June will likely be ready for some silliness after the seriousness of the spread of the novel coronavirus ended the ski season early, closed some businesses and greatly altered the services or others and left many people inside for extended periods.

The organizers of the Park Silly Sunday Market, the weekly bazaar on Main Street that draws large crowds for crafts, music and food in the summer and early fall, indicated the event’s opening day, June 7, remains intact.

The Silly Market leadership, though, also acknowledged the planned opening depends on talks with health officials and City Hall that are expected to occur closer to early May.

The Silly Market would be a prohibited gathering under the rules now in place barring crowds. The rules are designed to halt the spread of the sickness. It is not clear when the prohibitions will be lifted, but the Silly Market is readying for the season as if it will open on June. 7.

A lot of our vendors are Summit County small businesses. We want to get them back on the street,” Kate McChesney, Park Silly Sunday Market executive director

Kate McChesney, the executive director of the Silly Market, pledged the event organizers would not jeopardize the health of the market vendors or the crowds, the key issue in the upcoming decisions. She noted the importance of the discussions with the health officials in coming weeks.

McChesney said the Silly Market will likely make a decision regarding the first two or three Sundays by May 1. Decisions about other weeks of the Silly Market, it appears, could be made later, giving the event more flexibility than others that are held on a single day or over the course of several consecutive days.

The Silly Market website this week continued to promote this year’s run starting on June 7. The organizers also continued to accept applications from vendors.

“A lot of our vendors are Summit County small businesses. We want to get them back on the street,” McChesney said, adding that the Silly Market also benefits the brick-and-mortar businesses on Main Street.

The Silly Market in previous years drew upward of 13,000 people per Sunday, bolstering Park City’s summer-tourism season. Organizers say more than 187,000 people attended over the course of the summer and early fall in 2019.

The summer-tourism calendar offers a series of arts, cultural and sporting events. The Silly Market is unique, but it seems to attract numerous people who are in Park City for other events alongside the reliable Park City-area and Salt Lake Valley market-goers. The Silly Market offers an eclectic, rotating roster of artists, craftsmen and others selling a wide range of goods. There are concerts, other entertainers and food purveyors. It is based on lower Main Street, which is closed to traffic on Silly Market days, and extends to locations on the upper stretch of the street. The Silly Market is seen as a champion of small businesses.

McChesney said opening the Silly Market this year as scheduled would help after the dramatic drop in sales in Park City late in the ski season as the mountain resorts were shuttered early and tourism numbers sunk amid the spread of the illness.

“These businesses right now, here locally, are suffering,” she said, predicting a “positive economic impact” should the Silly Market open as planned.

The decisions by the Silly Market in consultation with health officials will likely be closely watched as the tourism industry prepares for an unpredictable summer. The June 7 date is several weeks before the traditional start of the busiest stretch of the summer, beginning around Independence Day. It would likely offer hope for the season if the Silly Market opens at that time and draws even at least reasonable numbers compared to previous years. Otherwise, there could be concerns that people continue to be hesitant to join crowds as Park City enters the important months for tourism between the 4th of July and Labor Day.

Park City’s summertime tourism trails the ski season by a wide margin, but it provides an overall boost to the economy with the possibility of solid numbers in the lodging, restaurant and retail sectors, especially in July and August. There are already worries, though, the spread of the novel coronavirus will impact the summertime numbers in Park City after the organizers of the Tour of Utah bicycling race canceled the event this year. It had been scheduled to spend three days in Park City and surrounding Summit County in early August. The Tour of Utah typically drew among the largest one-day crowds of the year in Park City.

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