On August 23, 2014, the second annual 97 Street Night Market took place in the heart of Chinatown.
97 Street Night Market
Closing off part of 106 Avenue just off of 97 Street ensured we were accessible, and adjacent to several of the neighbourhood’s most popular restaurants.
The market built on much of the foundation we had established last year, comprised of vendors, Asian-themed food trucks, dynamic performers and walking tours.
New this year to our vendors was Sunny Snapshots. They provided attendees with the chance to take home a keepsake of the market with a photobooth picture (and props to enhance the shots!). The photos are also online in a digital format, for handy sharing.
Felicia and I crammed our props inside the booth
Rory Lee, a local artist, also committed to live painting a piece during the market. Many onlookers watched to see the progress he made throughout the night.
We were fortunate to have Molly’s Eats back for a second year, who was joined by Nhon Hoa and Yellowbird. They provided a nice variety of dishes, from banh mi to sesame fish tacos. I personally enjoyed the braised beef shank wrapped in a green onion pancake from Molly’s Eats.
Fried rolls with beef from Molly’s Eats
The stage that night hosted a range of performers demonstrating more traditional arts to those who practice more modern endeavors. And they were all fantastic.
The sidelines were full that night
Vivian Tao, a twelve year old master of the Chinese guzheng, blew the crowd away with her talent. Wing Choy of the Red Dragon Tai Chi Club enthusiastically led a tai chi lesson. The Sung Lee Taekwondo Demo Team brought their A-game with their high energy routine.
Sung Lee Taekwondo Demo Team
We also had two great K-pop dance crews: Rise to Beat and a favourite from last year, Convergence Dance Crew. Someone suggested we host a “dance off” in the future, but both crews are so passionate it would be hard to choose a winner!
Rise to Beat
Of all the elements of the night market, walking tours are perhaps closest to my heart. They’re something I always seek out when travelling, since they’re a great way to learn about the history and geography of a neighbourhood.
Returning guides Peter Wong and Lan Chan-Marples lead a Chinatown history tour
This year, I was most proud of the fact that we added a new tour to the mix that was all about the area’s culinary gems. A popular way to learn about Chinatowns all over North America, I was happy to finally bring such a concept back to Edmonton (I heard Judy Schultz, formerly of the Edmonton Journal, used to lead such tours herself).
Tour participants enjoy samples at Ying Fat
Wild Tangerine’s Wilson and Judy Wu did a phenomenal job introducing five of Chinatown’s food businesses to a small group of lucky individuals (we unfortunately couldn’t take everyone who was interested in the tour!). The food-filled stops included Ying Fat, Edmonton’s fresh tofu factory, who go through 1000 pounds of non-gmo soybeans sourced from Ontario, and Hing Lung, a barbecue shop that cures and roasts its own meat.
How many people can fit into Hing Lung?
The tour feedback was great; some commented that they would have gladly paid for the tour! Many participants also remarked that they now felt less intimidated in Chinatown, and would soon return to patronize the shops they now feel familiar with. Food tours in Edmonton’s Chinatown are definitely an untapped opportunity; I’m hopeful someone will pick up the torch in the future.
The market after dark
Overall, I am proud of what we achieved with the 97 Street Night Market. We not only created a vibrant, safe gathering place in Chinatown, but also highlighted some of what the neighbourhood has to offer.
With my co-organizers, Maria and Roxanne
Thanks to those who attended this year!