Every summer, many Los Angeles locals flock to the 626 Night Market, a monthly three-day Asian-themed event serving those within the 626 area code.
Since its first appearance in April 2012, the Market has gained widespread popularity due to its huge presence on social media.
“Not one cent was spent on marketing,” said Holly Nguyen, a public relations coordinator and a vendor representative. “People just started posting it on Tumblr and Facebook, attracting 8,000 likes on Facebook and about 40,000 in foot traffic.”
Created by founder Jonny Hwang, the concept behind the Market’s creation were the evening night markets found in various parts of Asia, particularly the Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan.
This year, the 626 Night Market took place during the months of July to September at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, Calif., and its September event had a record-breaking attendance of 100,000 over the Labor Day weekend.
Though the Market’s attractions include the Art Walk, merchandise and craft vendors, and carnival games, the most popular would be the performances on the main stage and the variety of foods that are offered.
In the September event, the performance lineup featured a panel from ABC’s hit show Fresh Off the Boat, musician Olivia Thai, and the Market’s first b-boy dance competition 7-to-Smoke.
Nearly 100 food stands were available, with the most notable ones being a kawaii “bear” laying in yellow crab curry from Lazy Bear, Hotato Potato’s potato swirls, and a mason jar with glowing ice cubes from Main Squeeze.
Though there are a diversity of options at one’s disposal, it is recommended to bring more than $50, with the food items ranging from $5 to $10 each, and be prepared to wait in 45-minute lines.
Nonetheless, visiting the 626 Night Market is an adventure that is worth the wait and money spent.
For next year’s 626 Night Market, Nguyen said its expectations will not only continue to be met, but also exceeded.
“We are pushing for more innovations in the foods our vendors offer, greater diversity of our attendees, and new attractions that will keep these attendees engaged to keep them coming back.”