Getting Out Into The Sunlight . . . And Moonlight

With vaccines becoming more widely available to all age ranges — Ohio is getting ready to open vaccine distribution to everyone over 16 by the end of this month, for example — people are hopeful that we may be inching back toward what we remember as pre-pandemic normalcy. But I think everyone also realizes that a big part of the “getting back to normal” process depends on people, and just how comfortable they feel about returning to the acts and practices that we took for granted before March 2020.

And here’s a key question: how comfortable will people be about being in a crowd, even if they are vaccinated and/or masked up?

On Gay Street, in downtown Columbus, we’ll begin to get a sense of the appetite for the pre-pandemic activities next month. The Gay Street District will hold its first “moonlight market” on April 10, from 6-11 p.m., and its first “sunlight market” on April 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The markets give visitors a chance to do some shopping from street vendors who will set up along Gay Street and grab some food from the restaurants lining Gay Street. Part of the fun of the events is being in a bustling crowd while moving up and down the street. This year, organizers no doubt are wondering how many people — vendors and visitors alike — will show up.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard, but small businesses, street vendors, and street festivals have been particularly devastated. As we work on making our way back to “normal,” keep an eye on events like the Gay Street District markets. They are the kind of leading indicators that will tell you whether there is a pent-up demand on the part of cooped-up people to get out into the sunlight, and moonlight, or whether people are holding back because of lingering concerns that the coronavirus is still lurking out there, and that maybe it is wiser to just stay home — again.

The Gay Street Moonlight Market

Tonight is the latest Gay Street Moonlight Market.

IMG_3848It’s an opportunity for all of Columbus to come and see the coolest street in the downtown area, with the best food, the best restaurants, the best sidewalk vendors, the best shops, the best buildings, the best parking lot . . . and the coolest law firm, too, of course.  (The outside wall of our 68 building serves as the backdrop for the slide show projections.)

It’s part of the work of the Gay Street Collaborative.  The Moonlight Market takes places on the second Saturday of every month, with the brick-and-mortar businesses staying open for shopping and sidewalk vendors filling both sides of the street.  The first two Moonlight Markets did really well, and we Gay Streeters are hoping that the nice summer weather will bring even more people out tonight.

If you’re in downtown Columbus for the arts festival, stretch your legs, hoof it a few streets to the north, and check out Gay Street tonight.  I’m guessing you won’t be alone, and I’m betting your won’t be disappointed!