Music will be a key ingredient in Mt. Airy USA’s plans for this year’s Night Market. MAUSA’s Executive Director, Anuj Gupta stated, “We will soon be able to announce some pretty exciting news.” The organization has set an August 9 target date for the event, which will host a variety of food vendors. Gupta noted that the new music partner will book the street festival’s musical acts. “That gives us access to a world of talent that we could never do ourselves.”
Last year’s Night Market was considered a huge success and attracted approximately 7500 people. Gupta anticipates attendance to increase to 10,000.
The Night Market will again be held on Germantown Avenue. “The only difference may be lengthening the extent of the street closure so we can accommodate more food vendors,” Gupta said. MAUSA is also talking with the City’s Department of Public Property and Lovett Library in hopes of being able to include the library’s grounds as a picnic area.
MAUSA does not yet have a confirmation of the total number of vendors expected, however, Gupta stated that the goal is to have 35. This would amount to a 40 percent increase in food merchants from last year. The idea is that more vendors will help alleviate long lines. MAUSA hopes that more neighborhood restaurants will take part in Night Market. “Frankly, the primary motivation for this is to promote the local restaurants and businesses,” Gupta remarked.
Costs shift to Mt. Airy
Food Trust brought the event to Mt. Airy last August, in partnership with Mt. Airy USA, under a grant from the William Penn Foundation. While a partnership between the two will remain, MAUSA will now be responsible for all of the costs.
“This is going to be a much harder model to pull off,” Gupta disclosed. “We are developing a model to figure out how to pay for it.”
MAUSA plans to raise some of the money through sponsorships and vendor fees. Vendors who are members of the Business Association of Mt. Airy (BAM) will be given a discount. Another proposed idea to fund the event is the addition of a beer garden, which would be a ticketed area where attendees could purchase wristlets for entry.
Gupta estimated that putting on the event will cost around $20,000.
Parking was a problem for many at last year’s Night Market. Gupta stated that MAUSA will be “working to resolve” such issues. He stated that the marketing campaign will emphasize the neighborhood’s plentiful public transit resources.
Gupta stated that Mt. Airy USA’s goal is to make Night Market a “signature event for the community.”
“I want to hear stories of people coming to Night Market and then coming back to Mt. Airy,” he said.