Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

7/30/2012

626 Night Market: Second Time Success

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

By the looks of things, the organizers of the first 626 Night Market have learned their lesson well. While the first iteration occupied just about one city block of Pasadena, the night market has now expanded to cover about six city blocks. Where my husband, myself and a few friends were once sardines haplessly stuck in a body-to-body type situation at the old venue, the night market's sprawling area around Pasadena City Hall was more than we could have hoped for.

Right when you walk in, the night market gives you what you want, stalls and stalls of food as far as the eye can see (not to mention the distinctive aroma of stinky tofu, which could be both a pro and con.) At first, I had thought it would be one long street of vendors along Holly Street and then it'd be over, but I was very wrong. Once you get past the first line, you're treated to a large open space right in front of the Beaux Arts City Hall (which apparently stands in for Pawnee's city hall in "Parks and Recreation.")

This center breathing room allows visitors to assess just how much more of 626 Night Market there was to explore. On either side of Garfield, more vendors line up hawking food stuffs to assorted Asian tchotchkes. If stalls aren't your thing, how about food trucks? They were all lined up on Union Street.

Organizers in bright red shirts kept the smooth flow of traffic reminding people to step aside and let others pass when we inadvertently gawk at the food. When lines get too long, those red-shirted guys would also create a small space that would keep the traffic flowing smoothly by cutting through the line toward their destination.

The City Hall is also conveniently close to two Metro stops and parking seemed pretty easy to find.

In short, many of the suggestions posited last time were actually realized--a plus point for 626 Night Market organizers. The event's page pegged the number of visitors last weekend to about 40,000, but we hardly minded. The happy blur of activity and music kept us going. If our stomachs had more room, we probably would have herded to more food stalls too.

If there was one thing I would have improved, it would actually be for vendors to have large signs of their streamlined offerings on their stalls. That way, would-be customers wouldn't have to work to find out what you had to offer. In a marketplace of 169 other vendors, it would definitely be in a vendor's best interest to get the message out loud and quickly.

LA Weekly reports another one is already being planned in a few months. I'm pretty sure my husband and I will be back. Will you?

Here's a glimpse of the day's affairs:

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