Night Market returns to downtown with more dates in 2022
This year's series will focus on local vendors and be held on six dates.
ROCHESTER — The Night Market is returning for a second year this summer.
It will have twice as many dates, a larger space, likely more vendors, and hopefully not be quite as overwhelming on each scheduled night, said market founder Tiffany Alexandria.
The Night Market begins July 2, and occurs every two weeks thereafter on Saturdays through Aug. 27 from 4-10 p.m. each night at 307 E. Center St. with the final event, Sept 10, occurring during the Mid Autumn Festival, which is one of the biggest holidays in Chinese and East Asian culture. That Night Market will be held at the Mayo Civic Center.
The night markets were three of the biggest summer events in Rochester last year with more than 8,000 people attending the inaugural event at the Rochester Art Center.
While that was a heartening success, that wasn’t Alexandria's intent, she said.
“I wasn’t trying to create three large events,” she said. “I love special events, but this is closer to what I wanted last year.”
With six dates, each of this year’s market series gives up to 14 rotating vendors more opportunities to sell their goods, she added.
Alexandria said the more consistent schedule will help start-up businesses that vend there build a customer base.
“There is no incubator space for these types of vendors or food,” she said.
While last year’s night markets drew people from surrounding communities and the Twin Cities, Alexandria said having the more frequent events means relying more on local support.
“For us to sustain our community and help these small businesses grow, our community has to come out and support these businesses,” she said.
Alexandria compared the Night Market to a farmers market type event with a festive bend. Her other goal is to create an event reminiscent of the night markets in Taiwan where she grew up. Markets give pop-up and small businesses opportunities to reach customers.
That kind of grassroots entrepreneurialism isn’t common here, she said. Thai Pop, which started as occasional dinners at Forager Brewery, then moved to a regular pop-up dining schedule downtown, to eventually becoming a popular restaurant is an example of that type of success, she said.
"Maybe this is ambitious for Rochester,” she said. “How do you change a culture? You don’t know until you try.”