Philly: Thousands Expected at Night Market, Tonight

Philadelphia's 2011 Vendy Award winner Sweetbox Cupcake Truck

By Amanda Mahnke | Mt. Airy Patch

Philadelphia's 2011 Vendy Award winner Sweetbox Cupcake Truck

Tonight, tostadas, Caribbean fried fish, local beers, gourmet cupcakes and thousands of happy eaters will be just some of the sights on Germantown Avenue as foodies and food vendors flock to the Mt. Airy Night Market.

The event, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday night, is the third night market the Food Trust has coordinated in the past year. The markets are essentially evening food bazaars that showcase merchants from around the area. The goal is to “introduce attendees to the city’s diverse array of restaurants and gourmet food trucks and its coolest neighborhoods,” a Food Trust press release reads.

With several thousand attendees expected, “It’s hopefully going to be the biggest street festival Mt. Airy has ever seen,” said Elizabeth Moselle, Mt. Airy USA Director of Commercial Corridor Revitalization.

Thursday evening’s Night Market will feature 25 different food vendors, restaurants and food trucks, five crafting vendors, and music by UCC Royal Brass Band, Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble and Doc Gibbs and His Band, who will perform at a stage at the intersection of Mt. Pleasant Avenue and Germantown Avenue.

Eight local restaurants will be participating, including Avenida (serving Latin American favorites along with sangrias and margaritas) and Geechee Girl Rice Café. Earth Bread & Brewery and McMenamin‘s will be serving beer to thirsty patrons.

The winners of the Vendy Awards—presented to Philadelphia’s best street food vendors—will be there too, including Sweetbox Cupcakes and Gigi & Big R, a soul food truck that dishes out Southern favorites like jerk chicken, fried fish, and mac & cheese.

Most items will be less than $5, allowing festival-goers to sample a wide range of foods for a relatively low price point.

Last year, the Food Trust received a grant from the William Penn Foundation to host night markets in Philadelphia neighborhoods, and the organization decided to do so in neighborhoods that were more off the beaten path, than say, Center City, according to Moselle.

In each neighborhood, Food Trust partners with a local group—in this case, Mt. Airy USA—to coordinate the event. Food Trust approached Mt. Airy USA around Thanksgiving, and since then, the organizations have shared the fundraising and logistical efforts, she said.

“It’s a really special and unique opportunity—there aren’t a lot of street festivals like this that happen in Philly, and that’s something we want to change,” Moselle said. I think the more we show that these events can happen, that they can go forward without problems, and that people really want them, the more things like this we can have in Philadelphia.”

The Night Market takes place on Germantown Avenue between Sedgwick Street and Mt. Airy Avenue. Mt. Airy residents are encouraged to walk or bike to the event, but free parking will be available. For more information on travel detours and parking at the event, see Patch’s article here.