Tales from the Gardens – Monthly Column
By Maya Park
Asian Media Access
New trend in US, Centuries old in Asia: Little Mekong Night Market
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Aug. 6, 2015) — It is time for the second-annual Little Mekong Night Market, held once again in St. Paul’s Little Mekong District on from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2015, and from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday.
Little Mekong Night Market is a new model to encourage the Complete Street concept in the urban setting, with a century old idea – closing the street at night for neighborhood activities and engaging the public transportation/walking/biking to the designation.
For those of you unaware of this diversion from the traditional Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Perkins, ”Saint Paul’s Little Mekong is a business and cultural district, stretching for five blocks of University Avenue between Mackubin and Galtier and home to more than 100 small and locally-owned businesses offering authentic food, gifts, clothing and services from the many cultures of Southeast Asia.” (Www.onthegreenline.com)
The Night Market idea grew from the mission of Asian Economic Development Association: to give more visibility to the Little Mekong District, more traffic, and give people a sense of what a SE Asian night market is like. Audrey Park, event coordinator, states, “It’s not restricted to Asian vendors. We are trying to serve the entire community of the Twin Cities, and there is still time to become a vendor!” In the true spirit of bi-culturalism, Little Mekong Night Market seeks to infuse the experience of East and West, with sprinkles from various other directions.
“Our goal is to drive as many people to this area and expose them to the businesses that are here. We were very intentional about having it on both sides of university… two seemingly distinct neighborhoods.” This year it is being held in the street, on Western (running North and South), in between Charles and Aurora. “Due to the huge turnout last year, we moved it into the street to accommodate as well give it a true street market feel,” said Park. It will be filled with arts and crafts opportunities, lots and lots of food, and there will be two different stages for performances.
Experience and witness BALL: Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle through Asian Dance performance, and other cultural dances and activities, as alternatives to traditional exercise! Live BALL: bike to the venue! Nice Ride is providing bike racks so people can enjoy the night, using alternative methods of transportation.
Little Mekong Night Market is a venue in which generations, cultures, and community come together. Park sees this as an opportunity for younger generations to learn more about their own cultures and other cultures, and for older generations to promote the continuation of their businesses and cultures. Come experience the tastes, smells, and sounds of the Asian Street Markets, and exercise your right to BALL: Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle!
For more information on BALL: www.ballequity.apacommnet.org
For more information on Little Mekong Market: Visit LITTLE MEKONG
THIS PROJECT IS SUPPORTED BY ASIAN MEDIA ACCESS’ BICULTURAL ACTIVE LIVING LIFESTYLE (B.A.L.L.) EQUITY CAMPAIGN, FUNDING SUPPORTED BY CDC’S REACH (RACIAL AND ETHNIC APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY HEALTH) INITIATIVE