Northern Liberties pivots to new Night Market Series

Kory Aversa

As if you didn’t need reason enough to head to the Northern Liberties area of the city—with restaurant and shopping options galore, it’s a no brainer—there is now another huge event coming to the popular Philly neighborhood. 

NoLib’s 2nd Street Festival recently announced the launch of the Northern Liberties Night Market Series featuring a variety of food festivals kicking off Thursday, Sept. 23. The inaugural event will kick off at 5 p.m. and run until 10 p.m. on N. 2nd Street between Fairmount and Poplar streets, and the Night Market series will continue every spring and fall. These new markets are serving as a pivot for the area since the 2nd Street Festival has been put on pause from the pandemic. 

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“The organizers of the popular 2nd Street Festival are thrilled to debut this new series of open-air food festivals in our neighborhood of Northern Liberties,” said President of 2nd Street Festival Corp. Owen Kamihira in a statement. “For some time, the 2nd Street Festival had been brainstorming ways to expand from just an annual festival into a year-round series of events. When the Food Trust announced the end of their popular Night Market series, 2nd Street Festival saw this as the perfect opportunity to carry the torch of a tradition many Philadelphians hold near and dear to their hearts. That event was always designed to help set-up neighborhoods for success as the event continued to pop-up around the city, with the Mt. Airy Street Fare as a great example of the Food Trust’s work in that area.

“We originally intended to launch something new in spring of 2020, but COVID had other plans. After two years on hiatus, 2nd Street Festival is bursting at the seams to bring people back to Northern Liberties for fun and festivities. We can’t wait to get back out there.”

On Thursday, visitors who head to the Night Market can expect to find food trucks, food and shopping vendors, sidewalk cafes, entertainment, family fun, lawn games, music, street performers, and a couple other fun surprises, with plenty of room for social distancing. 

A few vendor highlights include: El Camino serving up an assortment of margaritas, their Vice Night Punch and Mexi Mai Thais; Urban Village pouring a selection of Northern Liberties made beers; fresh-baked traditional and unique empanadas from East Coast Empanadas; the first and only Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Truck in the country; hands-on kitchen and cooking classes offering samples from Hudson Table; pizza cones from Chank’s Grab n’ Go; a variety of Caribbean and Latin dishes from Calle del Sabor; aracini rice balls in different savory flavors from The Little Sicilian and much, much more. Vendors are continuing to be added, and a full list is available online. 

According to the release, for some vendors, this is their first major time back on the road and at this type of festival since the pandemic. The event is meant to support the region’s thriving food truck and mobile food vendor economy that was devastating to the industry, all while showcasing the food neighborhood of Northern Liberties. Stats have shown that there are 23,000 people set to move into apartments and new projects in the Northern Liberties area, and the population boom has also brought a restaurant boom. 

Kory Aversa

Oron Daskal of North Bowl said in a statement, “When we started the 2nd Street Festival, we just wanted to celebrate our neighborhood and have fun doing it. It’s amazing how much interest it draws now and how much life it brings to 2nd Street.”

Entertainment-wise, visitors can expect to see games, family fun, music, a marching band from Snacktime Philly, a Game Zone sponsored by Post Brothers with lawn games like corn hole, ladder golf, washers, life-size Jenga, Connect Four and more this Thursday. On top of it all, Project Positive Dance Troupe will provide street performers with music from DJ Frosty. 

The release also notes that this Night Market series is not affiliated with the Food Trust and is an independent production of 2nd Street Festival. This new event was designed with that idea in mind to bolster a new and regular series of events — especially when the classic Night Market events are on pause. The festival is free to attend, and pay-as-you-go for food and drink. Philadelphians can also bring the kiddos and the pups, as this event is family-friendly.

Visit 2ndstfestival.org for more information.

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