WASILLA — Palmer’s Friday Fling marketplace is set to return Friday with 47 local vendors and social distancing measures in place.

“Everyone’s definitely excited,” Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ailis Vann said.

Vendors will be spaced one full spot apart from each other, according to Vann. She said there will also be controlled entry points with hand sanitizer and a list of market protocols to ensure everyone’s safety.

“We’re just encouraging everyone to take personal responsibility and abide by our guidelines,” Vann said. “We want to try and have this all summer long; and we want Palmer to be an example of how to do an event during these uncertain times.”

Friday Fling is starting four weeks later than it normally would, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also going to run longer than normal to make up for that, according to Vann. She said the market hours have also changed to accommodate people working 9 to 5 jobs, moving from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Just be aware of your surroundings and give that extra space between people. Just all the stuff that we hear all the time. We’re not gonna’ pound it into people’s heads,” Vann said. “We’re just encouraging people to be kind and courteous to people around them.”

Each Friday Fling, there will be two musical performances by local bands. There will be an 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. set and a 4:30 to 6 p.m. set each Friday until the season ends.

With current restrictions, Friday Fling is maxed out with vendors. Vann said the Palmer Chamber may be able to take on more vendors if things improve enough over the summer. She also encourages people to shop locally at the brick and mortar stores while they’re at Friday Fling before making their next online purchase.

The hours may have changed but Friday Fling is returning to its normal spot at the downtown pavilion near the Palmer Museum of History of Art. Vann said it’s a relief they can keep this coveted tradition going this summer, in spite of the ever changing coronavirus situation.

“We’re over the moon. We’re elated. We’re so happy to get to do this” Vann said. “We’re ready for it to start.”

For more information, call 907-745-2880 or visit palmerchamber.org.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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