Silly Market arrives in stylePopular Sunday market does best opener to date
June 15, 2012
The Park Silly Sunday Market hopes to keep the momentum up from last week, the best opening weekend for the market in its six-year history. From an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 attendees on its opening weekend in 2011 to 11,000 to 12,000 this year, the market is on the growth track.
"The staff, we could feel that there was a lot of people there," said Ryan Cray, the community and media relations spokesperson. "And we were excited about it. That first day is nerve-wracking, but the numbers show it was a success."
"Each year we get a couple more thousand per weekend," she added. "and we’re glad to see the numbers growing like that."
In a recent Historic Park City Alliance Board Meeting, members learned that most of the crowds coming to the Park Silly Sunday Market are from out of town.
"A good number of the people attending the festival are people from out of town or visiting," said Alison Butz, the executive director of the HPCA. "The market does bring in a good number of visitors to the downtown area and that’s great. It’s another reason to bring people to Main Street and that’s positive for everyone."
"At this point, we haven’t heard of any problems," she added. "People were excited to kick off the summer season with last week."
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Volunteers positioned at various entry points count incoming numbers, giving the organization a rough idea of how many people were there.
As the day wore on, signs of the large crowds became more evident, Cray said. Vendors were selling out of specific products. The Ogden-based hard liquor distillery, Five Wives Vodka, helped sponsor the event this year and was one booth to quickly sell out. Other vendors were not far behind.
Midvale-based sandwich shop Melty Way ran out of 200 pre-made sandwiches just after 2 p.m.
"We prepped to do what we had done at the height of the season last year," said Trevor Williams, part-owner of Melty Way, "and we sold through it all of it in the middle of the day."
In the Kid’s Activity areas, lines of children patiently awaited their turn. Chefs preparing samples of their food at presentations station couldn’t keep food on the platters, so many people swooped in to taste a bite.
The typical number of people coming to the Park Silly Market last year ranged from 8,000 to 10,000. The year before, that number was closer to something between 5,000 and 7,000.
"We would love for it to keep growing," Cray said, "but really that is up to the city. We certainly have enough people to make it work and we’re hopping to pursue that goal one day, but it may take a little time."
The market will gets its upper Main Street test run when the Tour of Utah bicycle stage race, which ends on lower Main Street, will be in town this August. While the race ends on lower Main Street, the heart of the Park Silly Market will move to the top of the street, a trial run for if the event ever expanded to fill the entire street top to bottom.
"Usually participation peaks around the Fourth of July, Labor Day weekend and the Silly Fest, which is the last one o the summer," Cray said. "That festival is local-oriented, everyone coming out and celebrating end of summer. But this year already feels different just from the first weekend’s participation."