Taste of the Hilltop, the first Georgetown University Farmers’ Market event held at night, introduced new vendors and student performances Aug. 30.
Georgetown Weeks of Welcome, Georgetown Program Board and Georgetown University Farmers’ Market hosted the event featuring four new vendors, Manos de Maiz, Hot Lola’s, Hilana Falafel and Z&Z. Campus a cappella groups, the Georgetown Saxatones and Georgetown GraceNotes, performed in Red Square. After the market closed at 9 p.m., Weeks of Welcome showed “Aladdin” on Copley Lawn.
The farmers’ market is a popular on-campus dining destination offered to the Georgetown community on Wednesday afternoons in the fall and spring. Introducing nighttime events to the market will give it a fresh, more upbeat vibe, while maintaining notable returning vendors, like Bun’d Up, Swizzler, Timber Pizza Co. and Georgetown Bubble, according to Khai Nguyen (SFS ’22), a member of the board.
“I feel like the farmers’ market can get quite limited in terms of how many vendors we can attract, so having an additional event allows us to introduce so many new vendors,” Nguyen said.
The nighttime market idea was reminiscent of evening food festivals that Nguyen attended in his hometown, he said.
“I came from New Zealand before I was at Georgetown and I went to a lot of nighttime food festivals, which was kind of my jam,” Nguyen said. “I was like, ‘Why don’t we have something similar here in Georgetown?’”
Manal Hilana, owner of new vendor Hilana Falafel, serves Palestinian falafel made with locally grown chickpeas at six different local farmers’ markets. Being a part of Taste of the Hilltop gives Hilana an opportunity to share her cultural heritage with the Georgetown community, which she herself is a part of, she said.
Taste of the Hilltop not only supported local vendors and generated excitement about future markets, but it also gave performing arts groups like GraceNotes the opportunity to share information about upcoming auditions and shows, according to GraceNotes President Olivia Giacomo (COL ’21).
“The GraceNotes performed at Taste of the Hilltop because we were eager to share songs with the Georgetown community, and especially with new students,” Giacomo wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The event provided a welcoming and uplifting atmosphere to spread the word about our group.”
The evening markets could continue on a biweekly, triweekly or monthly basis, but the frequency will depend on student feedback, according to Nguyen. The Georgetown University Farmers’ Market is open to hearing students’ input on Taste of the Hilltop and how often they would like to see future events.
“This is kind of a trial run. If this hits the ground really well, then the sky’s the limit,” Nguyen said.
The nighttime market would ideally bring members of the Georgetown neighborhood to campus and give them a chance to interact with the local vendors and the university community, according to Nguyen.
“I feel like when you have a market on Wednesday morning you don’t really have time to swoop by, but this is a Friday night,” Nguyen said. “If we attract a lot of non-GU people, then we have a way to create a high-traffic event that benefits not only the vendors but also us getting our name out there — not only as a school, but as a marketplace.”
Hoya Staff Writer Riley Rogerson contributed reporting.