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New downtown market event to replace long-standing Midnight Madness and Summer Sidewalk Sale – Huntsville Doppler

New downtown market event to replace long-standing Midnight Madness and Summer Sidewalk Sale - Huntsville Doppler

It’s a new era in downtown Huntsville.

After more than 40 years, the iconic Midnight Madness and Summer Sidewalk Sale events have officially become a relic of the past.

Huntsville Councillor Bob Stone, who sits as a council liaison on the board of the Downtown Huntsville Business Improvement Area (BIA), said the board has decided it’s time for a change.

“They felt both the events had run their course and had been readjusted several times and they were a little bit tired, so they decided to retire those events,” said Stone, adding that participation—both from merchants and patrons at those events—was down.

In their stead, the BIA is planning the Muskoka Market: Huntsville Summer Edition to be held on July 30.

“We all understand that this is kind of a year of transformation and a year of change in downtown Huntsville, so we decided the Midnight Madness and Summer Sidewalk sale had been going on for forty-plus years and prior to COVID we did try to kind of rebrand them. We tried to work within the existing events to do something different… and then with two years off we just recognized that perhaps it’s not worth reinventing something and it makes more sense to start something new,” explained Morgan Lonsdale, manager of the Downtown Huntsville BIA. “So, recognizing the events that happen downtown and all of the activation that does go on downtown, we figured hosting one summer event that was focused on retail and our restaurants… one large event would kind of work.”

Muskoka Market: Huntsville Summer Edition, like the winter Holiday Edition which happened last November, will be a vendor-driven market with vendors from all over Muskoka lining the downtown. It will be a day-long event, running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with all kinds of entertainment activities as well as a children’s zone.

The idea is to draw as many people to the downtown as possible, which will add traffic for the merchants of the downtown as well, explained Lonsdale.

On that day, retail merchants will be open until 7 p.m., with visitors being encouraged to shop and dine downtown and then gravitate towards River Mill Park for music, and later a movie on the dock hosted by the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.

Now, with Huntsville’s wider sidewalks, putting vendors on the street makes a lot more sense, said Lonsdale. “We feel that the wider sidewalks, and we’re strategically placing these vendors so they don’t block our merchants, they actually will enhance the experience downtown…”

Downtown merchants will also spill out onto the sidewalk and join the vendors for the event.

The vendor fee is $150 for the day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information or to register, check out the BIA website here. You can also find more information about the market here.

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