Peterborough Night Market plans return
|Published: 08-21-2019 4:08 PM
On the heels of the first Peterborough Night Market, plans are already in the works for the next, organizer Roy Schlieben said Wednesday.
Saturday night, School and Depot streets were closed and crowds flooded into the municipal parking lot in the center of downtown for the town’s first-ever night market.
Vendors sold art, people danced to electronic music provided by two local musicians, young and old alike wondered at a living statue and a youth circus troupe entertained the crowd.
“I think it went great. We had a wonderful turnout, which was great to see,” Schlieben said. “People I talked to seemed to be having a great time. It was a different event. The only complaint was there wasn’t enough food.”
Schlieben admitted it was a challenge to bring in as many as food options as he wanted to for the first Night Market.
The only two food vendors – a grilled Mexican street corn stand and pulled pork sandwiches and barbecue sold by Roy’s Market – both sold out quickly.
“Now that we’ve proved this is a viable event we can bring in more next time,” Schlieben said of the food vendors.
Most businesses that were open during the Night Market such as Cooper’s Hill Public House and Harlow’s Pub were hopping. Little Roy’s, which stayed open much later than it normally would have, was also busy with a steady stream of customers.
“Cooper’s reported they did great during the event. They were super busy,” he said.
Schlieben also said organizers, unfortunately, didn’t coordinate with the owners of the Peterborough Community Theatre soon enough in the planning process. Holding the Night Market in the parking lot used by the theater and closing the Depot and School streets was going to mean a low to no turn out for the theater on a Saturday night.
The theater is owned by husband and wife Kevin Goohs and Vanessa Amsbury-Bonilla. While they support the Night Market, Goohs complained to the Peterborough Select Board last week that the town’s special events approval process is flawed.
“I find it disturbing and insulting that a special event had been considered to be held in a location disruptive to the Peterborough Community Theatre on the busiest revenue-generating night of the week, on a Saturday night,” Goohs told the Select Board last week. “I’m also quite disappointed … by the neighboring landlords, not our landlord, to have not allowed the event to be held in a parking lot location alongside the river, during hours that would not have impeded their revenue, outside of operating hours for their businesses. That specific location that I’m speaking of is between the Toadstool Bookshop to the Peterborough Diner, to the gazebo to the river.”
The Night Market was held from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Toadstool Bookshop closes at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The Peterborough Diner closes at 2 p.m.
Goohs added he and his wife are very much in support of the Peterborough Night Market and are planning on participating in this and future night markets.
“I have been to Europe and throughout the world and I’ve seen these night markets and they are fantastic and they will, I hope, help to transform the community and help create interest by the young community, which we are sort of lacking here,” Goohs told the Select Board.
Schlieben said Wednesday that organizers worked with the couple and in the end, the Night Market rented out the movie theater for the night and the theater ran a free movie, “Blade Runner.”
“That provided them with a slightly better option than having to close down for the night,” Schlieben said. “We’re not looking to put anybody out.”
Next time, Schlieben said they will involve the theater owners from the start and may move the location of the Night Market.
“For the next round, we will work with them on a time and a night that will work better for them,” he said.
However, one of the main objectives of the Night Market is to put a spotlight on downtown and show off all of the businesses.
“The point of the event is to bring people from out of town, people that wouldn’t normally be in Peterborough,” and encouraging them to patronize its merchants, Schlieben said.
Schlieben said other businesses may want to stay open later, like Little Roy’s did, and take advantage of the Night Market crowd. “As far as the potential for restaurant and retailers to be open it’s definitely there.”
Vendors told Schlieben it was a good night for them, but he plans to survey them soon to get a clearer picture.
“We’re going to do a debriefing meeting and we’ll talk to everybody involved and some other businesses downtown just to figure what would work best for the next time,” he said.
Schlieben said he thought before the event 250 people would be a great turn out. “I think we definitely blew that number out of the water.”
Schlieben estimates there was at least 500 to 600 people at the event.
“We are definitely thinking about when we are going to do the Night Market again,” he said.