The Juneau Public Market is still growing and changing in its 37th year.
The annual holiday market in downtown Juneau will feature 206 vendors spread across three venues — Centennial Hall, Juneau Arts & Culture Center and Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, said organizer Peter Metcalfe.
“Last year was the first time for a third venue, and we got close to filling it up, and now we’ve completely filled up Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall,” Metcalfe said in an interview. “We’ve expanded it into the hallways to accommodate even more. So it’s really kind of kicked up to a new level.”
Vendors include local Girl Scouts who will be wrapping presents on a pay-as-you-can basis in the JACC, Alaskan beekeepers, local artists and vendors from as far away as Kansas.
The beekeepers are James and Ana Reid of Stoked Beekeeping, a Homer-based business. Metcalfe said he finds their work fascinating and their fireweed honey tasty.
Venues will be open noon-7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is free to peruse the wares in the JACC and EP Hall, and admission costs $7.50 for Centennial Hall. Children 12 and younger will be admitted for free. Metcalfe said there will be chances to win door prizes for those who stop and shop at the JACC and EP Hall.
Parking and ways to navigate the market are also expanding.
“There’s more parking than ever before,” Metcalfe said.
This year, there will be free parking at the former site of the old public safety building, parking across the street from Centennial Hall, parking adjacent to Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall and open state parking on Saturday and Sunday.
There will also be parking at the Alaska State Museum Friday and Saturday. Friends of the Alaska State Library Archives and Museum will be hosting a marketplace noon-5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, too. The market isn’t officially part of the Public Market, but Metcalfe said organizers do work together.
For those who don’t want to bother with parking, there will be a free trolley car running from Centennial Hall every 10 minutes on the hour that will make stops at the JACC and EP Hall.
Metcalfe said many of this year’s vendors are either first-timers or relative newcomers. Sixty-four of this year’s vendors did not participate in last year’s market, and 56 did not participate within the past three years.
One of those newbies is longtime Juneau resident Jon Lyman, who makes bamboo fly rods.
Lyman said he didn’t make rods for the first 20 or so years he lived in Juneau, and it took years for him to get to the point his rods were ready to be sold in public.
“The old saw was until you build 100 rods, don’t think you know what you’re doing,” Lyman said. “Last year, I think I sold two. That’s just fine.”
Lyman said the rods are meant to be an avocation rather than a big money maker. Plus, each rod takes about 40 hours to make, so there aren’t all that many to sell.
He said the foot traffic at Public Market is a sort of advertisement for his rods.
People stop to check out the bamboo rods, talk with Lyman, and those conversations can turn into a personalized order later. It’s also an opportunity to discuss what he does.
“It was good,” said Lyman, who has lived in Juneau since 1983 and participated in his first Public Market last year. “The main reason I did it was for exposure.”
While the market draws local participants like Lyman, Metcalfe said it draws folks from Interior Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California.
“This event kind of renews itself every three or four years,” Metcalfe said. “If you haven’t been to the market in the past three to four years, it will pretty much all be new to you.”
Know & Go
What: Juneau Public Market
When: Noon-7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Centennial Hall, 101 Egan Drive; Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St.; Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, 320 W. Willoughby Ave.
Admission: Admission costs $7.50 for Centennial Hall. Admission to all other venues is free.
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt