Distilled: Night out at the Moonlight Market

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From the September 19, 2013 edition

When the Moonlight Market kicked off this spring, I was immediately excited about the monthly event taking place on Gay Street. So I’m pleased to announce the Moonlight Market will be extended through December.

“Adding October, November, December makes a lot of sense,” said Walker Evans, event coordinator of the Moonlight Market. “We thought, ‘Let’s throw something together and see what happens; do a little experiment and let it be bare bones.’ It’s been really well received.”

Moonlight Market was indeed a simple concept; collaboration between the businesses along Gay Street to hold a monthly event with pop-up street vendors. The brick-and-mortar businesses agreed to stay open late. Vendors apply (on a first come, first serve basis) and set up on the street and sidewalk.

The result was a boon for both the businesses and the pop-up vendors. Evans said a number of brick-and-mortar establishments have reported record sales days during Moonlight Market — which is one of the reasons for the extension — but the experience from a customer standpoint is also favorable.

I like to think of the Moonlight Market as Gallery Hop without all the hassle and people. (I am a noted misanthrope.) And much like Gallery Hop, there are a couple of good spots for a drink, only with much less intemperate folks to deal with.

It’s a tranquil stroll with intermediate perusing of clothes, jewelry, candles, arts and crafts, etc.

My cache of goodies for under $40: Two records (notably George Harrison’s Thirty Three & 1/3), two T-shirts (one a baby blue Beach Boys 1985 Tour shirt that was too small, much to my chagrin and joy of my petite companion), sunglasses and a button-up. Score.

The Moonlight Market is ideal for a date night. You can grab a meal and cocktail at one of the restaurants, then hit the street for a little shopping — and flirting, if you’re doing it right — under the stars.

I’m sure many of you will experience Gay Street at its most electrifying during Independents’ Day this weekend. Don’t forget to come back for more easy-going Moonlight Market.

Photo by Meghan Ralston