Park Silly Sunday Market gets one-year extension for summer
Under the agreement, the market will run for 11 days and will only take place on lower Main Street.
In a 3-2 vote, the Park City Council approved a one-year contract extension, so the Park Silly Sunday Market will be back this summer.
Councilmembers Tana Toly and Ryan Dickey voted against the extension Thursday. Toly is a Main Street business owner and cited the Historic Park City Alliance’s opposition to the market as reason for her no vote.
An HPCA survey conducted last year found that most Old Town businesses don’t want the market to continue on Main Street, saying that it hurts their sales by diverting customers away from them and out onto the street.
Dickey argued approving it didn’t objectively make sense, given the Main Street business opposition and mixed feelings of residents.
“If I blinded all the names, and blinded the town, and handed it to someone and said - hey, should we do an event that a supermajority of the businesses don’t like it, the neighborhood is strongly against it, the community is sort of ambivalent about it - I can’t imagine that anybody would blindly look at that information and say yeah you should continue to hold that event,” Dickey said.
He called the Silly Market the bullseye of event fatigue, which has been a common complaint around Park City for years regarding endless happenings and the crowds they bring.
Proponents of the market, including former Mayor Dana Williams, said it creates a gathering place.
“When we originally met with the silly sisterhood to discuss this market, one of the things we all certainly agree with is how charming we are as a town, but one of the things that we were lamenting, was the loss of our funk," Williams told the council Thursday.
"Hard to define, but for a lot of us what it actually meant was that regardless of our socioeconomic background, we should have events that we get to hang out with each other at.”
Artist Anna Moore said she makes 30% of her annual income off sales at the Silly Market, and was one of several vendors who voiced support Thursday. Others who visit the market said it’s important that Main Street has an event that’s cost-free to appreciate.
The owner of The Mustang restaurant on lower Main Street said the market should find a different location, saying vendors breaking down their stations kills the vibe for customers at their outdoor patio. Comparatively, the owner of neighboring Collie’s Sports Bar spoke overwhelmingly in support, saying they’ve gained many new customers as a result of the market bringing people to Main Street.
Councilmember Jeremy Rubell appeared on the fence earlier in the discussion, but eventually voted in favor after the market organizer agreed to trade event dates. Rubell requested that the July 30 market be moved to late September, when Main Street could use more economic activity.
The market’s five-year contract with the city expired last year. However, as with many things, Park Silly did not operate during 2020 due to the pandemic. The one-year extension effectively replaces the COVID year.
The council is scheduled to consider a long-term Park Silly contract, which could run three to five years, this spring. Several council members have signaled that major changes to the event may be needed for approval, such as a change in location or day of the week.