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Night Market highlights Rochester's diversity, Asian vendors

“I know I can’t bring 100% of the night market vibe,” Tiffany Alexandria said. “But I hope I can give them a taste.”

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Infuzn Foods will participate in Rochester's first Night Market (contributed by Tiffany Alexandria)
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Rochester's Night Market will light up the Civic Center next weekend.

Lead organizer Tiffany Alexandria is in the last stages of putting the first-time event together — hanging lanterns in the Art Center to direct guests to performances and crafts, printing banners, and making a checklist for fledgling food vendors to try to avoid any egregious omissions from their packing lists.

Bringing a real night market to life in Rochester is a complicated task, Alexandria said — every one across Asia is different. However, food and shopping are common elements in each.

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“When I used to go to the night markets, it was a mix of the food experience, shopping for clothes, shopping for accessories,” she said. “Or wanting to spend time with my friends, to have something to do together.”

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Thai Pop will sell food at Rochester's second and third Night Markets. (Contributed photo by Tiffany Alexandria)

There will be three Night Markets in Rochester — the first July 17, and two more on Aug. 21 and Sept. 18 — from 5 to 9 p.m.

Alexandria worked with Naura Anderson of Threshold Arts and Amy Garretson of the Rochester Art Center to make the market happen. It began to coalesce after the Rochester Downtown Alliance started offering grants for events.

“I know I can’t bring 100% of the night market vibe,” Alexandria said. “But I hope I can give them a taste.”

The vendor and entertainment l ineups were still in the works last month — but Alexandria said she’d tried to recruit from the area’s Asian and BIPOC makers, including Infuzn Foods , and Dao See of Rochester’s Hmong community. Sothea Lam (of Push & Turn) will perform at the first market, and Thai Pop plans to sell at the August and September events. She’d amassed about 20 booths in late June.

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Sothea Lam, of Push & Turn, will perform at Rochester's first Night Market. (Contributed photo by Tiffany Alexandria)

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Because of off-putting vendor regulations, many of the first night market’s sellers are new to Rochester’s vendor spaces. Alexandria found most of the sellers through word of mouth and through friends who work with the area’s diversity groups.

She’s hoping for between 500 and 1,000 attendees in July, and she’d like to see plenty of people from the vendors’ communities.

No matter who comes, it’ll pay to stay till the end.

Kim Kevin Sin, the interim director of the Rochester Cambodian Association who helped champion the Night Market, said at the end of the event, attendees will see “the release of the lantern.”

“It means community and friendship, and also the people we lost in COVID-19,” he said. “The lantern part is very special to the Asian community, and we want to share that component among the larger community here.”

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The organizers of the Night Market created merch, for sale online and at the events. (Contributed photo by Tiffany Alexandria)

Night Market merch is available for sale on the event’s website ( nightmarketmn.com ), and will be available at the event. The proceeds will allow organizers to pay vendors more, Alexandria said, or perhaps offset the costs of vendor fees on top of table, tent and sign costs.

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If you go

What: Night Market

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18

Where: Mayo Civic Center Riverfront Plaza and Rochester Art Center, 30 Civic Center Drive SE

Cost: Free

Related Topics: MAYO CIVIC CENTERROCHESTER
Email: ahalliwell@rochestermagazine.com
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