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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Argyle Night Market Shifting To ‘DIY’ Fest Because Of Coronavirus

The street fest has been a staple of Uptown summers since 2013.

Argyle Night Market
Facebook/Argyle Night Market
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UPTOWN — One of the neighborhood’s most popular summer street festivals is still taking place. You’ll just have to do it yourself.

The Argyle Night Market is moving forward as a “DIY” event this summer, instead of the street fest that has been a staple of Uptown summers since 2013.

Usually, around 30 vendors and a stage would take over Argyle Street from Kenmore Avenue to Sheridan Road every Thursday from July to August. But since the city is not issuing special event permits through Labor Day, event organizers are encouraging neighbors to create their own Argyle outing.

“All the components that make [the street fest] unique are still there,” said Greg Carroll, director of events for Uptown United, a chamber group. “You just have to go into the businesses.”

The Argyle Night Market in recent years brought over 4,000 people each Thursday to the Asian business corridor. The event has benefited the local businesses, and the business community will certainly take a hit from the lost foot traffic, Carroll said.

Like all local businesses, Argyle’s shops have been hurt by the coronavirus and the ensuing economic downturn, Carroll said. But the loss has been especially acute on Argyle, where businesses have faced discrimination due to racist connotations associated with coronavirus.

“Some of our businesses on Argyle were really hurt because of some of the associations people were making,” Carroll said. “It’s been hard. We really just want to bring people to the Argyle area.”

The “DIY” edition of the night market asks people to visit Argyle shops and explore the shared street business corridor. Those who collect at least 10 receipts from local businesses will receive an Argyle-branded t-shirt and a chance to win a gift bag including gift cards to local businesses and other prizes.

A big part of the night market is its live performances, which usually highlight the different Asian cultures represented on Argyle Street. Those can’t take place in-person this year, but Uptown United will host videos of dance performances on the Argyle Night Market Facebook page.

The Facebook page will also highlight lesser-known dishes and food items available on Argyle Street, with some more information about the origins of the cuisine and the business behind the creation, Carroll said.

“We’re hoping that gets people into the doors of businesses that they may have never been to before,” he said.

For more on this year’s night market, click here.

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