Night Market to hold last celebration of 2016


December’s Night Market will hold a toy drive in conjunction with Step by Step on Friday.

Morgan Smith

On the first Friday of every month from May to December, the 700 Block of Bryan Avenue is transformed into a bustling scene complete with live music, local vendors, and delicious food. This open-air affair is known as the Lexington Night Market, and has become an increasingly popular event for Lexington residents.

The Night Market got its start in 2013 when Richard Young and Griffin VanMeter founded the North Limestone Community Development Corporation. 

“They were looking for a way to give back to the community and create a space for artists and potential business owners,” said Samantha Johnson, director of communications and events for North Lime CDC. 

The market provides an opportunity for small businesses, local artists and nonprofit organizations to grow in an informal setting, and gain valuable exposure with potential customers. 

The Night Market is one of many community enrichment projects undertaken by North Limestone CDC, and it has experienced incredible growth since its formation. 

“The Night Market has certainly expanded in terms of the amount of vendors and amount of attendees,” Johnson said. “The first market had around 15 vendors and now we’re up to 60. There were even around 6,000 people at the October market.”

This year North Lime CDC has partnered with Step by Step to host a holiday toy drive at their December market, the final market of the year. 

Step by Step is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of young, single mothers through support, encouragement and education. 

“We’ve been around for 22 years and we exist for young single moms ages 14-24 to offer empowerment and healing,” said Tonya Torp, executive director of Step by Step.  

Since the program focuses on the empowerment of young moms rather than just blind support, each mother must earn a certain amount of points with Step by Step before she can benefit from the toy drive. 

“We work on an empowerment model, so our moms earn what they get. They’re excited by the fact that they earned the gifts they’re giving to their kids,” Torp said.

Moms can earn points by doing community service, setting and taking steps toward achieving goals and participating in Step by Step programs. These programs often feature valuable training on topics such as domestic violence awareness and financial literacy. 

Step by Step is hoping that students who regularly attend the Night Market will participate in the toy drive. 

“Most of the childcare for our program is provided by students from UK, so we’re hoping that students will show up and support this cause,” Torp said. 

Night Market attendees will be able to donate items to the toy drive at the market this Friday, Dec. 2, from 6 to 10 p.m. Employees and board members of Step by Step will be at the market dressed as elves to help collect the donated toys, and will be selling hats as an additional fundraiser. 


What: December Night Market

When: Friday, Dec. 2 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: 700 block of Bryan Ave.