The largest night market in North America is coming back this summer, and it's slated to be bigger than ever. The organizers are expanding the Asian food festival to downtown Los Angeles and Orange County and adding in much more than just food.
"We're going to be having an art walk, a science festival and a lot more entertainment," says Alexander Siu, one of the organizers.
The 626 Night Market started in 2012 in Pasadena as an attempt to mimic the food bazaars of Asia. A grassroots movement by San Gabriel Valley local Jonny Hwang, it eventually grew to accommodate more than 200 vendors and, by 2013, had relocated to the Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia. Last year's attendance averaged 50,000-plus per event.
The dates this year:
- 626 Night Market will be at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia for three weekends on July 18-19, Aug. 15-16 and Sept. 12-13. Event hours are 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.. Parking is free with admission of $3. Children 6 and under get in free.
- Downtown L.A. Night Market will take place in Lot 7 at L.A. Live and Staples Center on June 20-21. Event hours are 4 p.m. to midnight.. Admission is $7 for presale tickets, $10 at the door. Children 6 and under get in free. Public transportation is recommended.
- Orange County Night Market will be at the OC Fairgrounds May 9-11. It's the event's largest venue to date and the only three-day event this season. Event hours are 3 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and 3 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and parking is $7. Children 6 and under get in free.
The food will be more or less be the same at all the events - and very similar to that offered at previous markets. There's a heavy focus on Asian street food, though the organizers are intent on using businesses local to the locations. The Orange County Night Market will have more Vietnamese food, while downtown Los Angeles will incorporate more fusion and pan-Asian offerings.
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Downtown will be the smallest market in size but will be the only one of the three to allow vendors to sell alcohol. And unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask) the downtown market is opting to go without the stinky-tofu vendors.
Organizers are currently accepting applications from vendors and performance artists. Lower vendor rates start at $98 per day. To contact the organizers, check their website or call 626-241-2859.