Downtown Concierge

Gay Street’s Moonlight Market set for April 13


In the Media


The Columbus Dispatch

Evening sidewalk sales to take place on second Saturday of spring, summer months

The Short North has its Gallery Hop. And next month, Gay Street will have its Moonlight Market.

The new Saturday-night retail event is scheduled to be held from 6 to 11 p.m. April 13, and on the second Saturday of each month through September.

The market is aimed at bringing the public to Gay Street between N. High and 3rd streets to shop, eat and mingle. Both bricks-and-mortar businesses and vendors from other areas of Downtown will sell their wares in a party atmosphere that will include live music and illuminated building projections.

Moonlight Market was conceived more than a year ago as a way to showcase the Gay Street area and spur it to become even more successful, much as the Short North’s Gallery Hop has done for that area since it began in 1984, said Cleve Ricksecker, executive director of Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, one of the event’s sponsors.

“I think Gay Street is one of those areas that has that potential,” said Ricksecker, who was involved in the Gallery Hop during the six years he was executive director of the Short North Business Association. “If we can get a phenomenon going on Gay Street like the phenomenon that took place on Short North in the ’80s, it would be a big, big help for Downtown.”

While taking inspiration from Gallery Hop, which is held on the first Saturday of each month, Moonlight Market is hardly competition, Ricksecker said.

“The city is big enough for more than one nighttime retail event,” Ricksecker said. “I think the city can support three or four of these kind of commercial events.”

In fact, the organizers of Gallery Hop see Moonlight Market “as a positive, a rising-tide-raises-all-ships kind of thing,” said John Angelo, executive director of the Short North Alliance.

“We need people coming down to the urban core. As we make Downtown more attractive with things like Moonlight Market, it’s mutually beneficial.”

While existing Gay Street businesses will be open late and provide special offers for the event, sidewalk vendors will come from all over the Downtown community to participate, said Moonlight Market spokesman Jacob Taylor, co-founder of local marketing agency CivitasNow. Dozens already have signed on to set up shop.

“The swell of people interested in participating has been overwhelming,” Taylor said.

Vendors will include used-book seller Very, Very Books; organic pet-food merchant Jackpot Treats; and classic shirt retailer Ghetto Vintage, which will set up its refurbished ’60s Airstream trailer at the event.

The range of vendors is as much about showcasing a generational shift in retailers as it is about developing a new retail strip, Ricksecker said.

“These are people who are really emotionally invested in Gay Street, people who are in their 20s,” Ricksecker said. “Over the long haul, they’ll have an impact on the street and be here for a while.”

Another of the participants is the Hills Market, which recently opened its Downtown location at 95 N. Grant Ave., just a few blocks away from the event’s main stretch.

“When we opened Downtown, they asked us to participate,” said Jill Moorhead, marketing director at Hills Market. “It took us about five seconds to say yes. We were excited to join a community of folks who are creative and forward-thinking and doing community events. It seemed perfect.”