PUBLISHED: 5:07 PM on Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Public Market going strong 25 years
Sometimes superlatives are entirely appropriate. Certainly it is the case with the Alaska-Juneau Public Market, now celebrating its 25th year.

One of the first events to be held in the brand new Juneau Centennial Hall, the Christmas shopping event has grown over the years.

First staged in the Sheffield Ballroom, it then expanded after six years to fill the entire facility, and, in 2005, expanded again to include the Public Market Annex in the nearby Alaska

Metcalfe said the claim, "The best Christmas show in Alaska," is undisputed by the vendors.

Photo by Peter Metcalfe
  From left: Misha Culver, Monica Yost and Lindsey Culver helped Santa at the 2006 Public Market hand out gifts to young children.
"We have many professional vendors who do all the big shows in Alaska, including the Palmer State Fair. Most of them tell us that the Public Market is their most lucrative venue, and all insist it is their favorite."

This might have something to do with the help they get from the Public Market workers. "One of the favored assignments for our young workers is the coffee run," Metcalfe said.

"They circulate through the market asking each vendor if they wish to place a coffee order. Sometimes, the kids will stand in the booth while a vendor makes a restroom visit. We help vendors every way we can. Giving vendors such attention is something I'm told is uncommon. Their gratitude is often expressed in tips to our young workers, which is one reason the coffee run is such a popular assignment."

Another favored assignment is being Santa's helper on Sunday, which is family day at the Public Market.

Vendors make generous contributions of gifts for children, so that every child who confides in Santa Claus is given a gift by one of his helpers.

Also on Sunday, choral groups perform, and Jeff Brown makes balloon animals for the children.

Public Market is open from noon-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23. and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24-25, at Centennial Hall. Admission is $5, which is valid for all three days.

The Public Market Annex is open from noon-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. There is no admission charge.