People filtered in and out of booths set up along E Street in downtown Anchorage on Sunday afternoon, browsing local art as music filtered through the area from Town Square Park during the second week of the ANC Market Social.
The new market was created in hopes of drawing Alaskans downtown and supporting local businesses, said Amanda Moser, executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership. The main idea, she said, is “by locals, for locals.”
“We’re thinking a lot about the downtown ecosystem — so how to support the surrounding businesses and how to create vibrant spaces and bring our community back together after what was a really challenging, divisive year,” Moser said.
The Anchorage Market, which was held downtown for 28 years, moved to the Dimond Center in 2021, in part due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. That market routinely drew crowds to downtown, which bolstered surrounding businesses, Moser said. The ANC Market Social, it’s hoped, will similarly draw people to the neighborhood, she said.
ANC Market Social is meant to feel like a street fair where the community comes together, she said. On Sunday afternoon, children ran through a stream of bubbles in the park, drew on the sidewalks with chalk and people swayed along to live music from the band Superfrequency. About 16 local vendors sold jewelry, food and art.
For Hailey Morgan, who sold her watercolor and ink prints in one of the booths, the best part of the day was getting to interact with people face to face. She didn’t participate in any markets or fairs last year because of the pandemic.
“(This market) feels really community oriented,” she said. “It feels like it really is supposed to be a social event and less of just here’s a bunch of people selling stuff, but a way to actually engage with more people.”
ANC Market Social will take place 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays on E Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues and at Town Square Park. Moser said the project is a pilot this year and The Downtown Partnership will evaluate its impact after the season ends.