The Night Market returns to downtown Rochester in 2022
(ABC 6 News) – The Night Market is returning to downtown Rochester for 2022 with more dates and two locations.
Starting in July, markets will be held every other Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 307 E Center St, Rochester (the parking lot across the river from Mayo Field and across the street from the Civic Theatre). Up to 14 vendors will be at each event, on a rotating basis.
On Sept. 10, the final Night Market of the year will be held outside at Mayo Civic Center. The date for the big market is no accident; September 10 is Mid Autumn Festival (also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival), one of the largest holidays in Chinese and East Asian cultures.
The expanded schedule and more intimate venue brings the market more in alignment with the original vision of Night Market founder Tiffany Alexandria of CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW. If last year’s event showed the city the array of Asian culinary excellence here, this year’s events are meant to build sustainable, regular relationships between customers and BIPOC vendors.
“I want The Night Market to be an incubator. My goal is to cultivate vendors. Switching to smaller, more frequent events allows the vendors to be more successful. It also makes this more sustainable,” Alexandria says.
It’s a model that more closely resembles the night markets of Asia, where, every evening around sunset, venders coalesce around temples and popular city spots for unofficial, unorganized events called night markets, or, ?? (Yèshì). People of all ages gather after work to eat, shop, and enjoy themselves. Night markets feature street food, clothing vendors, daily necessities, occasional live entertainment, and, most importantly, street food.
Olmsted County requires street food vendors to have a specific permit in order to sell food. These permits come at a significant effort and expense for first time vendors, but allow them to sell at up to 10 events. Expanding the schedule allows vendors to take better advantage of their permits.
After last year, she received a lot of interest from people wanting to be vendors for the first time.
Last summer’s large events were so popular that many first time vendors found themselves swamped by crowds of customers. Alexandria has also received a lot of interest from people wanting to be vendors for the first time since, too.