When Night Market came to Mt. Airy in 2011, its level of success surprised even those well-versed in the neighborhood’s penchant for supporting all things local and outdoors. After an encore Night Market the following year, Mt. Airy USA reprised the annual event as Street Fare. Last year alone, an estimated 15,000 people came from all over the city and region to hear live music and sample selections from 50 food trucks.
However, conversations with members of the Business Association of Mt. Airy suggested that Street Fare was not creating the expected positive impact for local businesses. So Mt. Airy USA started exploring other options that would bring the community out for a real taste of Mt. Airy. Turns out a pretty good solution has been happening a mere 20 miles away. Now in its ninth year, Media’s Dining Under the Stars has provided the Delaware County seat with a much-anticipated weekly event every Wednesday from May through September.
Mt. Airy USA and BAM tip our hats to Media as we reimagine Street Fare as Supper Sessions on the Avenue, with the spotlight turned around on our existing assets.
The 7100 block of historic Germantown Avenue alone is home to 11 restaurants and bars. They’ll all bring their tables and chairs out onto the Belgian blocks, with the Route 23 trolley tracks providing a natural pedestrian walkway for pedestrians. Look for McMenamin’s, Earth Bread + Brewery, Trattoria Moma, Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange and more.
To move away from the successful and popular Street Fare Mt. Airy was not an easy decision. But celebrating local restaurants while maintaining the outdoor tradition makes perfect sense.
The music will remain, as well. Instead of dueling, amplified stages, think acoustic singer-songwriters, string quartets, accordions more in line with a European alfresco dining experience. Other businesses that took a hit during Street Fare will also enjoy a greater visibility with extended hours to accommodate visitors: Amir Lyles painting in his gallery at S.O.N. A.R.T, a fall fashion preview at Blacqskirt, seasonal blooms at 108-year-old Rothe Florist.
All of it will happen on one block in downtown Mt. Airy, from 5 to 11 p.m. every Wednesday in September. Two different SEPTA regional rail lines are within three blocks; the 23 bus, which normally travels this block, will reroute only a block away. And while Supper Sessions will temporarily close the municipal parking lot on the block, the one behind the Sedgwick Theater (entrance on Chew Avenue) will serve in its stead as will additional parking lots down the street.
Add in popup events for kids and adults alike — a crafting session by Handcraft Workshop, a painting party with Mt. Airy Art Garage and performances by Quintessence Theatre — and you’ve got the makings of a new Mt. Airy tradition!