It’s Spring in Los Angeles, and there are numerous new events springing forth all over the county. We examine two of these events that occurred last weekend, the 626 Asian Night Market in Pasadena and Springfest in Chinatown, and see how they hold up as first timers.
The 626 Night Market last Saturday was not just the first Asian night market in Pasadena. It was marketed as the first Asian night market in all of Southern California. As someone who studied abroad in Hong Kong for three years, I was more than excited. While there weren’t any neon lights like there are in Hong Kong and Taiwan, there were plenty of Asian t-shirts, stuffed animals, cellphone covers (which you can find all over Hong Kong), lamb skewers, dragon beard candies (made of peanuts, sugar, and honey), takoyaki (Japanese squid dumplings), egg puffs, azure red bean pancakes, Taiwanese beef rolls, and milk tea to give everyone a taste of the East. Unfortunately, the market also replicated another similarity to Asia, the dense crowd. There were approximately 10,000 attendants reported, and for those in charge of the 626 Night Market to have projected that number prior to the event, they should have arranged it to occur in a location that’s larger than a block or two. Don’t even ask me about possible fire hazards. In addition, food vendors were understaffed and understocked, resulting in unforgiving lines and food that were sold out within the first few hours. For instance, I love dragon beard candies, but when the guy making them was also the cashier, you would expect long waits as a result. Furthermore, I attempted to order red bean pancakes. I was given a number and told to return in two hours. Two hours later, I came back to find them out of pancake batter. The night market had a large variety of Asian food to satisfy patrons, but it’s useless when it’s impossible to purchase them.
The Springfest in Chinatown last Sunday had a different problem. There were hardly anyone attending the event, and it’s hard to blame them. There were no food vendors except for a man selling cotton candy, and the only booths present were an artist gallery, a booth for LA Weekly, and a booth for free massages. A beer garden was not enough to captivate visitors. However, there was apparently a rib-eating contest earlier, but we missed it because we couldn’t find the schedule for it prior to the event. It was also difficult to find the event since it was hidden within an alleyway half a block from N Spring St and Cesar Chavez Ave. However, Stephen Sowan’s performance on stage definitely brought back energy to the festival.
It’s also worth noting that there were some wonderful new startups present. As I was passing through the crowd in 626 Asian Night Market, I discovered Cake Bar. Created by Grace Juhn a year and a half ago, Cake Bar offers tasty alcohol infused cupcakes like margarita cupcakes. Definitely keep a look out for them.
As with all new ideas, the 626 Night Market and Springfest both need time to improve. Now that they have a sense of the crowd, they should adjust accordingly, whether that requires moving or hiring more staffs. I wish them the best and hope last weekend wasn’t their first and only events.
So what is your favorite new event this year?
Until next time,