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Goodnight Market debuts Friday at old Armory Pavilion

By Reid Posey

Since its conversion from an old National Guard Armory into an event space, the Armory Pavilion at the corner of University Avenue and Bramlett Boulevard has proven to be a valuable, versatile space for both community and private events. However, what it provided in location and versatility, the Pavilion lacked in basic equipment needed for hosting events, such as chairs, tables and lighting.

To help solve this problem, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has teamed up with Leadership Lafayette to bring the Goodnight Market to the LOU community.

“Our group’s project is to help develop an evening market at the Old Armory Pavilion that would be beneficial to the entire community,” said Justin Ramsey of Leadership Lafayette. “We have put a lot of hard work into this series of events over the summer, and we are looking forward to the first one this Friday.”

The Goodnight Market will be held every third Friday of the summer months, beginning with the first installment this Friday, followed by markets on July 21 and August 18. Each market will last from 6 to 8 p.m.

In addition to providing a community gathering featuring food, activities, local artists and cultural groups, the markets will also help toward fundraising for these upgrades to the Pavilion. The event is free to the public, but a portion of the vendors’ proceeds will be donated toward improving the space.

Wayne Andrews, executive director at the Arts Council, pointed out what a valuable, unique space the Pavilion represents for the community. More specifically, the Pavilion is a covered space at the intersection of two major Oxford streets and is available for both community and private rentals. However, to reach its full potential, Andrews believes that they need to provide the proper equipment for the facility.

“We want to try and provide those tools so it becomes this community-centered space,” Andrews said.

More than vendors

Although there will be the typical components of a market at the event, Andrews also emphasized that the market provides an opportunity to the local community and cultural groups to set up a booth and show the attendees what their respective organizations do.

“We wanted to make it not just about things to buy, but the community of resources that are available, so that people would be more connected with their community,” Andrews said.

Each month’s edition of the Goodnight Market will bring a different cultural activity. The first month will feature music from local group The Wilburs.

Next month will feature a pop-up choir, led by Damein Walsh. Andrews said that lyric sheets will be handed out to participants, though most songs will be selections with which everyone is familiar, and that it will be one big sing-along.

The final installment of the Goodnight Market will feature a short dance lesson activity provided by Ole Miss Ballroom Dance.

Andrews said that the primary purpose of the market is to give people a chance in a laid-back environment to engage with their local community in a variety of ways, whether it be through food, art, song, dance, or learning from the different community groups about all of the opportunities and resources available right here in Oxford.

“We really just want to kind of make it this block party that’s casual and fun,” Andrews said.

In the process, the arts council and Leadership Lafayette hope that enough money will be raised for the upgrades so that space can be utilized more easily and more effectively by the community as a whole.

Although the event is free to the public, Andrews wanted to remind attendees to bring some cash to enjoy the food and drink vendors, while also contributing to a worthwhile cause.

Additionally, there are still vendor spots available for any interested parties. Andrews said that in lieu of a booth fee, he asks that a portion of the proceeds be given to the Pavilion upgrades.