Silly Market ends season on Main Street with serious talks about future pending with Park City

Upcoming discussions about a long-term agreement expected to be held in coming months

The Park Silly Sunday Market drew a crowd to lower Main Street on Sunday for the final day of the 2023 season. Silly Market organizers, Park City leaders and Main Street businesses are expected to engage in talks in coming months about the long-term future of the event.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

Kylee Emery on Sunday was stationed in the Luni & Roo booth at the Park Silly Sunday Market, selling pet collars, bandannas and leashes made from canvas, tweed and leather.

Her sister, Necia Emery, makes the goods and the Silly Market provides ample opportunities for sales. The crowds at the Silly Market are especially interested in dog collars. The weekly event on Main Street in the summer and early fall is the best market for the Emery family.

She is unsure whether there are many other “opportunities for small businesses like this to present their works,” Emery said on Sunday, the last Silly Market of the season and the final one of a one-year agreement between City Hall and the Silly Market organizers that covered the 2023 season. 

The Silly Market debuted in 2007 and quickly grew in popularity, drawing large crowds to its base on lower Main Street. There has been concern over the years about the eclectic mix of food and merchandise booths siphoning sales from brick-and-mortar businesses, particularly those on upper Main Street. The Silly Market over time made adjustments to the logistics of the event, including expanding the footprint onto upper Main Street, but there remains some displeasure south of the Heber Avenue intersection.

Park City leaders, the Silly Market organizers and Main Street businesses in coming months are expected to engage in high-stakes talks about the long-term future of the market. The one-year agreement was seen as a stopgap measure that would allow more time for the sides to consider options.

The Park City Council in August indicated they desire more discussions with the Silly Market organizers before making decisions about the long-term future of the event. It seems that the upcoming discussions could involve the possibility of the Silly Market reducing the number of days in the season and other tightened restrictions. Main Street’s brick-and-mortar businesses, which remain split about the Silly Market, are expected to be heavily involved in the talks as well.

Emery said it is difficult to envision the Silly Market held in a different location than Main Street, which is something that has been broached previously. She said Main Street is an easier location for the Silly Market, explaining it is friendly to pedestrians and describing there are transit options to the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.

Perhaps, she said, the Silly Market could reduce the frequency of the event and remain on Main Street.

“It just would not be as popular,” she predicted in a later interview about a Silly Market held in a location other than Main Street.

The Silly Market was crowded in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, as Parkites, people from the Wasatch Front and visitors moved up and down lower Main Street. Some carried goods they purchased from the vendors while others were dining on the foodstuffs they bought. A band played at the lower end of the Silly Market setup with people gathered in a semicircle to listen.

Another Silly Market vendor on Sunday, Hoytsville ceramic artist Mike Hays, said the event seems to work best on Main Street. If the Silly Market was elsewhere, perhaps at a location like Canyons Village, the crowds would remain there rather than heading to Main Street, he said.

“I think it’s important to have something for people from down in the valley. … They do spend,” he said, making a prediction about the consequences of a Silly Market move. “Main Street would lose business.”

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