Crowds Pack Avenue For Mt. Airy Night Market
Miss the Night Market? See what all the fuss was about.
It was nearly impossible to find someone—anyone—at Mt. Airy's Night Market on Thursday night with a negative attitude.
There was a good reason for that. Over 50 food vendors dished out items like fried octopus, smoky BBQ seitan and dulce de leche macarons as crowds that often were close to too large for Germantown Avenue's capacity squeezed by. The weather was good, and people danced as Ryan Shaw performed to a large crowd across the street from the Lovett library branch. (Ginger Coyle and the Reckless Amateurs also joined Shaw on stage.)
"It's nice, it's summer, it's a beautiful night," said Lindsay Runyen as she held cupcakes from the nearby Jimmies Cupcakes truck. "It's right where I should be."
Mt. Airy restaurants like Avenida rubbed elbows with South Philadelphia favorites Los Taquitos de Puebla and food trucks that travel throughout the city.
Ka'Chi Truck, which served Korean food, had one of the longest lines all night, although it started to die down around 9:30 p.m.—much to the delight of people who waited for that to happen throughout the event. (Nomad Pizza, Zsa's Ice Cream Truck, Little Baby's Ice Cream and Lucky Old Souls Burger Truck also had extremely long lines at various points).
"I just wanted something different," said Rose Arnieri as waited to get a taco from Ka'Chi. "And the long line creates a demand."
Arnieri lives in Lumberton, N.J. and works in Cherry Hill. It was her first time in the neighborhood, and the atmosphere prompted her to wonder if Mt. Airy could be "the new Manayunk."
It's unclear whether that will end up happening. But either way, the market was a decent way for non-Mt. Airy residents—like Arnieri—to get a sense of the neighborhood.
Dan Muroff, who is on the East Mt. Airy Neighbors board, waited with his wife, Melissa, as she stood in line at Ka'Chi.
He said he thought the event had mostly gone off without a hitch. The exposure the Mt. Airy businesses get, he said, was key for the crowd, which at times caused Germantown Avenue to overflow with people and make it hard to quickly pass through the crowds.
"There are people who do the rounds who go to (all) the Night Markets," he said, referring to other events that had taken place earlier in the year in Northern Liberties and on Washington Avenue. "What's cool they get to see some of the restaurants that are here."
One of the big pluses this year, according to people who went to last year's market, was that the event covered a larger stretch of land. The 2011 market stretched from Sedgwick Street to Mt. Airy Avenue, but it extended to Carpenter Lane this year.
Dianne Manning stood and watched the Reckless Amateurs perform. "The music's been great," she said.
She hopes there are more markets like this in Mt. Airy more often in the future. But this market, according to her, did its patrons justice.
"It's better than ever," she said.