Thousands expected at Asian-themed 626 Night Market this weekend
San Gabriel Valley’s 626 Night Market, an event reminiscent of the popular night markets in Asia, is returning Saturday and Sunday at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.
The event showcases the region’s “hidden” small businesses for non-Chinese speakers, said Jonny Hwang, who founded the 626 Night Market in April with his wife and a friend.
More than 150 vendors will be on site, and the two-day event will offer additional activities such as a pumpkin patch, pony rides, a dance floor and a movie screening lawn.
This weekend’s night market will be the third one hosted by Hwang and his team. The most recent event, held in July in front of Pasadena City Hall, drew an estimated 40,000 people. For one evening, visitors were transported to the steaming food alleys of Asia and introduced to local businesses as well as first-time entrepreneurs and retail vendors.
Organizers saw Pasadena as a “gateway city” to the San Gabriel Valley. Its debut event in April underestimated its popularity and drew more than 15,000 visitors to one block in Old Town Pasadena — stalling traffic for hours. Following a smoother second event, the new location at Santa Anita Park was selected in order to take the growing event off the streets and accommodate more vendors and visitors.
The fall 626 Night Market will be open Saturday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 3 to 11 p.m. Admission is free, and parking will be $4 before 4 p.m., and $7 after 4 p.m.
Photo: One of the many Chinese food stands at the 626 Night Market on July 28 in Pasadena. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times