|The Alaska Crafter booth from last year's Public Market. Find us this year in the lobby near the doors to the courtyard. Ruby's Hill and TP Alaska Designs!
There is nothing that appeals to me about Black Friday. With a belly full of turkey hangover I'd rather burrow deeper into my winter covers than fight the throngs of shrieking shoppers ready to duel over a plastic made-in-China party tray at some horrifically early hour. But, there is one exception to the shopping mayhem that conjours visions of rosy red cheeks on friends and family, delicious morsels to munch and heavenly rows of locally handmade crafts as far as the eye can see. The greenbacks in my wallet will happily dance their way out to be exchanged for goods at Juneau's annual Public Market.
As a crafter, if you're not selling at the Market, you're attending. Since 1983 this crafter's paradise has been held the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanskgiving at Centennial Hall without fail. Peter Metcalfe, founder and current go-to guy for the Market recalls the impetus for the fair.
"I had long admired the Pike Place Market (aka, the Public Market) in Seattle," he said. "We mailed invitations to business license holders in the Juneau area, got an overwhelming response, and were off and running."
From 85 vendors in the first year to around 175 expected this season the market has grown to overtake both the entirety of Centennial Hall and its neighbor the JACC.
Vendors like Rebecca Poulson, a printmaker who creates The Outer Coast wall calendar, return year after year for the personal experience. "There is nothing like selling your things to someone face to face," she said. "Art is all about communicating something you can't express in any other way, and it is always wonderful to connect to someone who 'gets' the thrill of old boats or a beautiful muskeg plant, and I get ideas too from people and their response to what I've made."