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Philly Beer Week celebrated in a Center City Haus, with a drop-in visit from the Philadelphia Union Goalkeeper Credit: Jake Werlin

With good tacos and nice beer, West Philadelphia comes alive in the night time.

Night Market Philly, one of a string of outdoor events held in University City this summer, will come to 39th and Market streets from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday as part of Philly Beer Week.

“The whole entire event is taking place inside a two-acre parking lot” across the street from The Blockley, said Lori Brennan, the spokeswoman for University City District.

The Night Market, inspired by street markets found throughout Asia, will appear six times around Philadelphia within an 18-month span. The Food Trust — a nonprofit that aims to bring affordable, nutritious food to all Philadelphians — brought the first event to East Passyunk last October.

More than 30 different food truck vendors, The Blockley Beer Garden and live music will be featured at the Night Market, according to a statement from University City District. Vendors will include Jose Garces’ gourmet Guapos Tacos food truck, Dapper Dogs, Nomad Pizza and Little Baby’s Ice Cream.

“The Night Market events highlight the city’s diverse food scene and support small, local food businesses,” said Food Trust Executive Director Yael Lehmann. “The success of the debut Night Market showed us that Philadelphia is hungry for this type of event.”

Program Manager for The Food Trust Farmer’s Market Program Nicky Uy explained that their goal is to support the local food economy. “Food tastes in Philly are getting more sophisticated,” she said, adding that “the Night Market is a low-cost, fun and accessible way for people to try out new foods at their own comfort levels.”

Sponsors worked together to organize the event, with the University City Science Center “graciously” donating the venue, large enough to house all the food vendors, Brennan said.

“It was a total group effort” to acquire permission to serve beer at the Beer Week event, said Uy.

“We really got involved by happenstance,” said Chris Perella, The Blockley’s booking manager. The Blockley, a live music venue on 38th and Chestnut, will serve beers, including those from local brewers, and organize musical entertainment. “Blockley is still pretty new to the neighborhood and this event is a great way to let people know who we are,” Parella added.

Artists performing include Toy Soldiers, Spinning Leaves and Smoke Signals, which Perella described as “almost like a barbershop quartet — lounge-y, but not cheesy lounge-y.” LP Stiles, a jazz funk fusion band, will be playing inside Blockley as the Night Market starts to wind down.

“The biggest thing about [this Night Market] is we all are excited that University City is getting [its name] out there,” Perella said. “Night Market is a great way to bring people from other neighborhoods to come explore this neighborhood.”

Attendees of the market will also be able to pick up some freebies. The University City District booth will give away free local music download cards, which feature 13 free tracks from local West Philadelphia artists. They will also give away Night Market bottle openers made from recycled car tires.

Thursday’s Night Market will be a part of Philly Beer Week, a 10-day celebration of Philadelphia and its beer scene that began last Friday.

“Beer Week has a very similar mission to The Food Trust in that the way they support their craft brewers is the same way The Food Trust supports independent and local farmers,” making the two a good match, Uy said.

Philly Beer Week is the largest event of its kind in the country. Established in 2008, the festival — featuring tastings, beer crawls, and other events at venues throughout the city — has inspired more than 50 other cities to launch their own versions.

“Philly’s standing as a premiere beer destination and [the] acknowledgement of the importance of beer to the city’s economy and social fabric” set Phillly’s event apart from others, Philly Beer Week Executive Director Don Russell wrote in an email.

Gabriel Aronow, who works at Standard Tap in Northern Liberties, said the event was building off “the culture that was already here” to “spotlight beer” and bring the city together for just over a week.

Philly Beer Week is also a chance for residents to explore the city. Christine Scheigerwald, who works at New Deck Tavern in University City, said she sees the celebration as an opportunity to “try new bars and restaurants and meet new people.”

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