Crowds, Vendors Took To Main Street With The Return of Silly Sunday Market and Car-Free Sundays
Sunday marked the beginning of summer events in Park City. Both Park Silly Sunday Market and Car-Free Sundays kicked off the season.
Traffic was backed-up on Swede Alley Sunday, and pedestrians crowded Park City’s Main Street, which was completely closed to traffic. Residents and visitors came to Old Town for the start of summer events.
Park Silly Sunday Market welcomed guests and vendors back for the first time in 690 days. After taking off a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event had an air of “organized chaos.”
That’s what executive director of the market, Kate McChesney said while setting up banners for the event in the morning.
"I mean after everything is said and done, it all comes together," McChesney said. "But we were rusty, the whole team was rusty. But we were all so supportive."
In the past the market would draw in around 15,000 visitors, this year McChesney said she’s not sure how many people they should expect. But despite minimal advertising on social media, she said it felt like a normal turn-out.
And most of the usual vendors returned after a year off. Like Spencer’s Smokin’ Grill, the family owned vendor has been selling their High Altitude BBQ at the market for 12 years. Lynn Spencer said they felt a bit rusty getting back into it.
"We woke up at like five this morning to get all the meats on the grill," Spencer said. "Very chaotic, trying to get back into the rhythm, remembering how to do everything."
And McChesney said most of their usual vendors were eager to return to the market.
"The vendors were definitely chomping at the bit," she said. "I think that as an artist, you have had almost two years to really perfect your craft. And you're probably sitting on rooms and rooms and rooms of all of your inventory. So to finally be able to load it in a truck and bring it out, and watch everybody enjoy your art again, it’s got to feel really good for them."
While the market has mostly returned to normal, McChesney said they still have some restrictions in place to mitigate coronavirus concerns. For now vendors have more space between booths and for the first few weeks of the market there won’t be any kids activities to allow for more spaced out seating.
Another change to the market is the addition of Car-Free Sundays on upper Main Street. Last year the weekly event was introduced as a way for residents and visitors to spend time outside. The event also allowed restaurants and merchants more room to expand capacity into the street.
This year, McChesney said both the Silly Market and Car-Free are sharing Main Street.
"And so knowing that they successfully did that last year, and then they re-upped that contract for this year, we're super excited to share the stree," she said.
She said after 15-years, they have operations pretty dialed in, but it’ll probably take a couple of tweaks to accommodate for the changes.
Despite any challenges, McChesney and Michelle McDonald, director of operations for the market, were in high spirits Sunday.
“It's a street party. It’s a street party in the most beautiful town in Utah,” McDonald said.
“The fairy tale has just begun and won't end until September 26,” McChesney responded.
“It’s rainbows and sparkles and puppies and sunshine,” they joked together.
Silly Sunday Market runs from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. every Sunday through the summer. Car-Free Sundays are all day long from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.