It has been quite a while, but I have finally returned to the States! Since I’ve returned, I’ve been sorting through my hundreds of pictures I took while in Asia, so as promised, I will definitely post pictures of my food adventures in the following weeks.
A couple of days ago, I decided to check our ohmyfoodcoma gmail account and was surprised to find an invitation from 626 Night Market‘s Marketing Coordinator, Aileen, in our inbox. The 626 Night Market coordinators were planning on having a press conference at the Asia Pacific Museum in Pasadena.
I attended this press conference yesterday morning, and was pleasantly greeted by the founder of the event, Johnny Hwang. During the press conference, several Chinese news stations were present. Questions were answered in regards to how the 626 Night Market team were planning on improving the next 626 Night Market, this coming July 28th.
After the press conference, I had the opportunity to speak to David Fung from Fungbroscomedy and also to meet Aileen in person. At this time, I was able to get some insightful information regarding the event, and some of the questions I’ve been wondering about answered.
Me: So why did you guys decide on Pasadena as the location for this event, as opposed to someplace more centrally in the 626?
Aileen: We could have done it in the 626, but Johnny chose Pasadena for a number of reasons. By having it in Pasadena, it’s sort of this gateway between the 626 and mainstream. It allows more exposure of 626′s cuisine and culture to surrounding areas. Also, Pasadena is well known for hosting events such as the Rose Parade, in which they are able to control traffic and large amounts of people. We could’ve held this event in places like the Rose Bowl or a large arena of some sort, but that would make it more of a festival as opposed to a night market. We wanted to keep the night market essence, so people are able to just stumble upon the event like they would in Asia.
Me: I know that last time there were just way too many people, and it was really dangerous. Safety is a big concern.
Aileen: To be honest, we didn’t even do any publicity for the last event. It just sort of happened on its own. We anticipated about 8000 people to show up based off of the facebook likes, but instead it was close to 30,000.
The 626 Night Market staff have definitely taken the negative feedback from the last event into consideration. They’ve been working very hard in improving this next event. They contacted several more parking structures to make about 10,000 parking spots available. They are also contacting other lots to open up. At the last event, they only had about 3000 spots available, but again, it was probably due to the numbers they estimated based off of their facebook fan page.
Aside from improving parking, the new location of the event is now a block away from the metro exit. So if you want to avoid the hassle of parking, you can always take the metro and walk your way to the event.
The staff have also been working on providing alternative driving routes to alleviate traffic. So you can see, the staff is definitely taking everyone’s suggestion to heart.
I also asked Aileen some questions about the vendors that are selling at the 626 Night Market.
Me: Are all of the vendors business owners, where they have actual restaurants or established businesses?
Aileen: Actually, no. There are a number of people who don’t do this for a living. For example, there were these two brothers who had this kebab stand at the last event. They’ve been cooking for about 10 years, but just for friends and family. After the last 626 event, they were invited by a restaurant to have a place in their menu. So it’s really cool to see that this event is helping small entrepreneurs with their business. I mean, anyone could have their own stand. You could open up a stand if you wanted to.
It was really great being able to get some insight on the event and the people who are organizing it. I found out that at the first 626 Night Market, it was only 3 people who were the main coordinators of the event. It was Johnny Hwang, his wife, and their friend Brian Gi. This time around, they have more staff consisting of more or less 10 people, who are going to help make sure that this next event runs smoothly.
David Fung also had a lot of encouraging words for the event.
David: The 626 Night Market is an event that brings together the 1st generation with the 2nd and 3rd generation of Asian American immigrants in the 626.
His statement reminded me of a facebook status I read on the day of the last event. It said, “all of 626 and their mothers are at the night market.” It’s true! This event definitely bridged the gap between generations.
I really wish a lot of success for the 626 Night Market and will definitely be there to support.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, they’ve moved their location and also expanded the area of which the event will be held. So definitely consider coming out and supporting this event!
Lots of thanks to Aileen for inviting me to the press conference.