The Big Lake Saturday Market and Swap Meet
By Dennis R. Garrett
The Big Lake Times
P. O. Box 520481
Big Lake, Alaska 99652-0481
26 May 2019
Summary: This brief outline will serve as a starting point for The Big Lake Saturday Market and Swap Meet. It proposes a draft plan, organizational structure, locations, and other details that are required for a successful community venture. Discussion is welcomed and encouraged as are comments and suggestions. This will require the participation of the Community to be successful.
Initially the event would be for one day a week but this plan is flexible, and could add days, holidays, special events, etc.
Purpose and Objectives: The Big Lake area and Susitna Valley are home to many local artists, musicians, and craftspersons of all types; as well as farmers, beekeepers, gatherers, producers, food and drink vendors, and small businesses. It is also home to those who appreciate these things.
Our Primary Goal is to provide a community-friendly place in Big Lake for interaction between all citizens of and visitors to our Community. It’s a great way to get out with the Family and Friends, meet your Neighbors and Visitors, and support local folks. This will also have the benefit of bringing more people to Downtown Big Lake, and helping local established businesses.
Another idea suggested is to use a portion of the proceeds to help the Big Lake Community Council and Big Lake Chamber of Commerce, as well as other Community Organizations.
We can also function during winter events such as The Iron Dog.
Formation: Among the things we need are an Organization: Someone in charge to coordinate the activities. And Volunteers. We probably should form a company (I recommend an Alaska LLC, ~$150 and I can do it no additional charges), State and Borough Business Licenses, Insurance, etc.
We’ll need a bank account, the MVFCU in Big Lake is excellent, and a box at the Big Lake post office, ~$65/6 months.
I can do a website, email and Facebook page as well as a Twitter account.
Every vendor will be subject to an agreement that includes the release, hold harmless agreement, provide for their own rights, title, insurance, and permits and licenses of any type and kind. I can draft this for your approval.
Advertising and Promotion
This will probably be our biggest expense at first, but there are ways to mitigate this.
Everyone in the Community has a stake in this. It is to everyones benefit to share this on social media, by word of mouth, and other ways.
One idea suggested is to offer Valley Transit a deal to bring in tourists and shoppers from Wasilla and beyond. Another suggestion is sandwich boards, The Peoples Paper, The Big Lake Times, and others.
A portion of the proceeds from space rental will go for advertising and promotion. This will benefit every participant.
Venues and Locations
This should be a park-and-walk Community Venture centered in the Downtown Big Lake area. Restrooms are located at various places around Downtown Big Lake, but we may need a couple more.
1. The Big Lake Community Rec Center and The Sand Pits. This would make an excellent starting point. Lots of parking, spaces for vendors, and restrooms. There will be a reasonable fee if they agree.
2. The Big Lake Public Library and Jordan Lake Park. Some parking, restrooms, a Port-A Potty, and WiFi. Owned by the Borough.
3. South Big Lake Road and Hollywood Road. Need to get with the property owners. This will bring business to Big Lake, and the local businesses can offer specials in conjunction with this project. Will need port-a-potties, depending on the size of the conglomeration.
4. Jay Nolfi Fish Creek Park. Excellent venue for musicians, food and beer trucks, and performance artists. Has limited parking and fine facilities.
That’s all for now, please consider participating in this Community Venture.