New Night draws crowd to Main Street

Newark Post - - Front Page - By KARIE SIM­MONS ksim­mons@ches­pub.com

Warm tem­per­a­tures and clear, sunny skies brought thou­sands of peo­ple down­town on Satur­day for the an­nual A New Night Down­town fes­ti­val.

At­ten­dees lis­tened to live mu­sic by lo­cal bands, chowed down on food from Ne­wark restau­rants and browsed roughly 60 ven­dor booths all while ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the free­dom of walk­ing down the mid­dle of Main Street with­out any traf­fic.

As the sun started to set, Chris and Jim Hyn­son of Ne­wark took a break from the fes­tiv­i­ties to sit on the curb and en­joy some ice cream. The cou­ple said they used to at­tend the event when it was called Ne­wark Nite, but had not been in the last few years.

“We came down be­cause it was a nice day,” said Chris Hyn­son. “I like that the street is closed off. Nor­mally you just drive up and down Main Street, so it’s nice to be able to walk and see the busi­nesses at your leisure.”

They said they en­joyed pe­rus­ing the art, crafts, and jew­elry for sale on the Academy Lawn and hear­ing the Brandy­wine Fid­dlers play.

“They were re­ally good,” said Jim Hyn­son.

Me­gan McNer­ney, Down­town Ne­wark Part­ner­ship ad­min­is­tra­tor, said sev­eral thou­sand peo­ple came to Satur­day’s event and es­ti­mated the crowd was big­ger than last year’s New Night, which boasted much hot­ter tem­per­a­tures and a scorch­ing sun.

“There was a pos­i­tive and re­laxed vibe of peo­ple hang­ing out and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Main Street on the one day all year where they get to walk down the mid­dle of the street,” McNer­ney said.

“This is a good sense of what Ne­wark has to of­fer,” city spokes­woman Kelly Bach­man added.

J.D. Wil­letts, owner of Brewed Awak­en­ings, sold cups of cold brew and nitro cold brew cof­fee – ni­tro­gen-in­fused cold brew cof­fee – to fes­ti­val-goers on Satur­day, which marked his third New Night since tak­ing over the shop in 2015.

As a busi­ness owner, he sees events like New Night as a chance to in­ter­act with the com­mu­nity.

“All day long I’m meet­ing peo­ple and talk­ing to peo­ple, which is what I love to do. I’m get­ting to know my com­mu­nity,” he said. “It’s also a good op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with the neigh­bor­ing busi­nesses. We don’t al­ways go to each other’s stores, but at events like this we can walk down the street and see each other.”

Wil­letts said he met a few peo­ple at New Night who did not know Brewed Awak­en­ings was on Main Street and oth­ers who had not yet tried the new menu items, like the nitro cold brew cof­fee, which Wil­letts has only been sell­ing for the past year.

“It’s a good way to get out on the street and say, ‘Hey, we’re here,’” he said.

Down at the end of Main Street, Dan Len­non of Ne­wark and his 6-year-old daugh­ter, Ri­ley, were en­joy­ing the chil­dren’s area spon­sored by the Ne­wark Parks and Recre­ation Depart­ment.

Ri­ley said she asked her par­ents to take her to New Night be­cause she heard there was go­ing to be mul­ti­ple moon bounces.

“I liked the princess one the best,” she said.

Ri­ley said her fa­vorite part about New Night was shoot­ing hoops for prizes, while her father en­joyed the live mu­sic the most.

Dan Len­non said he doesn’t typ­i­cally bring his younger chil­dren down­town on the week­ends be­cause Main Street is of­ten sat­u­rated with col­lege stu­dents, but not at New Night.

“It’s great that they can have some­thing like this,” he said.

Josh and Abel King try their hand at the shoot­ing gallery dur­ing New Night.

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY DAVID MELLON

Erin, Joe, Gwen and Avery Chall­burg en­joy a food break while ex­plor­ing Main Street dur­ing New Night.

Thou­sands of peo­ple ex­plore Main Street dur­ing the an­nual New Night fes­ti­val on Satur­day.

Tay­lor Draper plays bas­ket­ball in the kids area of New Night.

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