The Kenai Peninsula had more beautiful days this summer than anyone can remember, but Mother Nature chose one of the most perfect of those many days to close the Wednesday Market and free concert series at Soldotna Creek Park. Some 1,500 people turned out to shop, eat, sit, play, dance and enjoy their favorite craft beer from Kenai River Brewery. The Wednesday Market in the Park was created by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce under the direction of Tami Murray in cooperation with the City of Soldotna Parks & Rec. department. “We couldn’t be happier with the turn out tonight and the success of the market over the last two years,” Murray said in an interview with the Dispatch during the final free concert, “A lot of folks work hard to make this happen to support our local business community. Parks & Rec. have been great to work with and all the bands that come out here. We do pay them, but we don’t have a lot to pay them, but we’re giving them a place to play for the people who come out to enjoy the free concert. We couldn’t be happier,” said Murray.
One of the bands “Lost Smoke” came down from Talkeetna to play on the closing evening. According to Murray they were scheduled earlier in the summer, but they were stopped by the fire that closed the road and had to reschedule, “Yeah, I guess Lost Smoke ran into too much smoke to make it down,” she laughed, “But we were happy to have them make it on such a perfect night.” Soldotna Creek Park has been transformed from a former DOT equipment parking lot into the fairest of outdoor locations for visitors and community members to enjoy the splendor of the River City, “What I find amazing and rewarding is the demographics of the folks we see here, from the great grandparents to the grandparents, parents and little kids are here. The popular beer garden is packed, but there are hundreds outside the garden dancing and having a great family time as well. People had set up their chairs and blankets waiting for the music to start long before the musicians even arrived just enjoying the day. It brings a lot of folks from outside the city as well to enjoy what is so close to their own back yard and do their shopping while in town,” added Murray while enjoying a fried pickle. “We’re already looking forward to next year, but we’ll have some other things happening in the park this winter when we begin our movies in the park series. That’s always a lot of fun and has become very popular,” said Murray. To find out the movie and event schedule when it’s finalized log on to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce website.