In the early ’80s, Peter Metcalfe and his wife Sandy had an idea, and according to Metcalfe, “The trouble with a good idea is it never goes away.”
Juneau Public Market returns for its 40th year on Friday and runs through Sunday. Hours will be noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. This year’s market will feature 160 vendors, 55 of which will be brand-new, according to Metcalfe. Vendors will be set up in both Centennial Hall and the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. Admission to Centennial Hall for the 3-day tickets will be $8 per person (children under 12 are free) and no admission is charged for entry into the JACC.
“It’s a holiday retail event,” said Metcalfe. “We have vendors from all over Alaska and the United States bring their arts and crafts, mostly handmade products, and it’s an opportunity for people to interact with the makers of the product in a way that you simply don’t get online or in a retail store, so it’s very much a social event.”
According to Metcalfe, this year’s parking will be more available than in the past and include access to the lot directly across from Centennial Hall.
“Duff Mitchell, who has managerial control to the Coast Guard parking lot directly across Egan Express Way has give us access to that lot, but even more conveniently we’ll have the fairly new parking lot that’s where the public safety building used to be, so we have more parking for Centennial Hall and the JACC then we’ve ever had before,” Metcalfe said.
Additionally, Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska will host an Indigenous Artists & Vendors Holiday Market from noon to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Business and economic manager Jamie Cowan said that the entire community is welcome to this free event that goes toward supporting Indigenous artists.
“There will be various vendors providing authentic Indigenous crafts and arts and jewelry from some more known artists as well as some newer ones breaking into the market,” Cowan said. “Also, there will be a food court inside hosted by Smokehouse Catering, as well as a complimentary photo booth for all guests to commemorate the occasion. So, I encourage everyone to add the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall to their list of shopping stops during the Juneau Public Market and we hope to see everyone there.”
Metcalfe said that while there have been changes to local businesses as a consequence of the pandemic, one positive aspect of those changes he has seen is that the market has more new vendors than its ever had before. One of the newer markets that Metcalfe expressed excitement over is Jennifer Loofbourrow’s Anchorage-based company Alpine Fit, which features outdoor activewear base layers, hiking leggings and accessories including merino wool hats, headbands and neck gaiters that are made in Alaska.
“We’ve been in business for about four years now and started growing our participation in awesome Alaska events where people are interested in buying the things we have,” Loofbourrow said. “My husband is originally from Juneau and I travel to Juneau basically once a year at least if not more and everyone has always been saying we should go to Juneau Public Market, so we’re really excited to finally be able to make that happen this year.”
Another new vendor Metcalfe said he’s excited about is Jacob Weerasinghe’s Haines-based Alaska Creations company, which offers hand-poured soy candles, handmade earrings, and silk-screened Alaska designed clothing. Weerasinghe started his business at the age of 8 and is celebrating its 10th year in business.
“It’s been a really fun ride looking back at everything we’ve done since then. We started off with earrings when I was eight-years-old, that was the first thing I sold and it kind of grew from there to candles and clothing,” Weerasinghe said. “I’ve always wanted to do the public market but between school and the ferry system it’s just never worked out, but this year it was kind of my last year to do it and since I’m senior I convinced my parents to do it and ever since then I’ve been building up a ton of inventory. We’re super excited to attend and have this be our first year and offer really great new products to the shoppers.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know & Go
What: Juneau Public Market
When: Noon to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Centennial Hall, 101 Egan Drive and the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, 395 Whittier St.
Admission: $8 per adult for Centennial Hall and free for JACC
Know & Go
What: Indigenous Artists & Vendors Holiday Market
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Where: Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, 320 W. Willoughby Ave.