Laura Weinbaum, a mother of three from Center City, said the Night Markets provide a fun activity a family can enjoy.
"I like the food, the atmosphere. . . . It's just nice, a beautiful night, and there's music," said Weinbaum, who has been to several previous Night Markets, including the first one in East Passyunk in October 2010. "It's fun for the kids, a nice thing to do before school starts."
After last year's Night Market, the Mount Airy USA community development corporation knew that it had a success on its hands, said executive director Anuj Gupta.
"The businesses loved it, and we have a terrific business and restaurant community that immediately wanted it back," Gupta said. "The biggest question was how we were going to make back the costs."
The operating costs - police, trash pickup, and so on - added up to about $30,000, Gupta said, with Mount Airy USA paying for $24,000 of that. That money came from sponsorships, vendor fees, and other revenue sources, such as sales of Mount Airy T-shirts. The Food Trust picked up the rest of the cost.
"Part of the reason why we do these events is to showcase these great communities and all that they have to offer," said Diana Minkus, the Food Trust's project coordinator for Night Market Philadelphia. "And now we're working on a sustainability model for Night Market, so we're going back to some communities and taking a little bit of a backseat and supporting them, consulting with them to take on more ownership over the event."
The Food Trust has been recognized nationally for its work in promoting farmers' markets and urban nutrition. The Night Markets fit with the agency's goals, said Nicky Uy, a senior associate at the Food Trust, because of their accessibility.
"It's a way to bring communities together," Uy said. "It's a way for people to try food they've never tried, but in a safe, nonintimidating setting."
Contact Jonathan Lai
at 215-854-5151, email@example.com, or on Twitter @Elaijuh.