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Econ 919 — Soldotna Wednesday Market

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The Soldotna Wednesday Market is held every Wednesday in the summer at Soldotna Creek Park
Hunter Morrison
The Soldotna Wednesday Market is held every Wednesday in the summer at Soldotna Creek Park

The Soldotna Wednesday Market has been a staple of the Kenai Peninsula for over 15 years. Held weekly from the first week of June to the last week of August at Soldotna Creek Park, the market has grown extensively, hosting over 60 new and returning vendors.

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, the park is buzzing with customers, food trucks and artisans. For vendors, the market is a place to meet fellow artists while sharing their craft with others.

“I do a lot of home decor stuff," said Angela Verg-in, owner of Recycled Treasures. "I find stuff at garage sales, thrift stores from local areas, and combine it with things I purchase at craft stores, and make things to use in the house.”

“I hand paint using ink, and I sew my art in resin, and I paint on tile," said Lori Engler, owner of Jouney On. Pack Light. "I make backsplashes for people’s homes and individual ones for wall hangings. I use my art to print coffee cups and cards and mousepads, items like that.”

April Byrd is the owner of Surf Byrds Board Art, which sells an assortment of rideable boards
Hunter Morrison
April Byrd is the owner of Surf Byrds Board Art, which sells an assortment of rideable boards

“I sell artwork primarily, but it’s functional artwork," said April Byrd, owner of Surf Byrds Board Art. "I sell rideable, functional, usable surfboards, skateboards, I’m working on paddle boards and snowboards.”

“I do sublimation," said Rose Mowery, owner of Warrior's Arrow. "Primarily, my gifts are using Alaska photography, and we print it to metal on coffee cups.”

“We have a lot of turquoise and opal jewelry, and a few other types of stone," said David Anderson, co-owner of Earth's Past. "Primarily, those are our two focus points, and then we have fossil shark teeth and dinosaur bones made into pendants.”

“Everything starts as a black splat of paint, and I treat it like a Rorschach test," Byrd said. "Whatever I see inside of it is what I paint directly on top of it.”

“For each of us vendors, artists, it’s a huge part of our summer income,” Engler said.

“We meet a lot of wonderful people, people in Alaska are fabulous,” said Roxanne Anderson, co-owner of Earth's Past.

“It’s a tourist attraction, honestly," Mowery said. "Everyone knows it happens every Wednesday, they can come here and look for a variety of things, so I think it pours money into the local economy.”

"I love that it’s a place to come, you’re right on the river, and you can bring your out of town guests here, and they get all the tourist shopping done in a day,” Engler said.

“They come out here saying they’re just going to have lunch, but end up buying something because it caught their eye,” Verg-in said.

“It’s a good, safe place for people to hang out, and it also offers something for local businesses, too,” Byrd said.

“We normally live in South Dakota and the summers are kind of hot, it’s nice to be in a climate that’s almost half,” David said.

Earth's End sells and assortment of opals, turquoise and jewelry
Hunter Morrison
Earth's Past sells and assortment of opals, turquoise and jewelry

“It helps the economy, that’s what the market is for, to help the economy," Roxanne said. "Not only the vendors, but also the people of Alaska.”

“Just getting a bunch of products out there for tourists to come see, check out the cool stuff that we have," said Brendan Mowery, owner of Frames and Things. "But also to showcase the art and talent of other people.”

“I like the community of it," Engler said. "As far as vendors, we’re all somewhat connected and know each other and do other events together. I love the ability to sell my art in a beautiful setting.”

“It helps a lot to be able to have a local venue that is steady,” Verg-in said.

“I get to see people from every place you can think of here," Byrd said. "I have had people from Brazil come see me, I have had people from the Lower 48 everywhere see me, and even Scotland.”

“One of the main things is bringing people together," Brendan said. "Having them integrated into the community, especially people out of country that have never been to Alaska before and seeing what it’s like here. It’s a good taste of what Alaska is like, a bunch of different people having locally made products.”

The Soldotna Wednesday Market runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday through August. The Levitt Amp Soldotna Music Series follows the event.

For more information or to register as a vendor for the market, visit their website.

Hunter Morrison is a news reporter at KDLL
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