The second annual Night Market, organized by the Asian American Students Alliance (AASA), lit up the Branford Library Walk with paper lanterns on Oct. 3.
Twenty-three booths lined the walk, offering foods that ranged from dumplings to chocopies — Asian-style chocolate moon pies. Resembling a bustling night market in Taiwan, the event allowed participants to move up and down the walk, while performances were held at the High St. end of walk.
This year, AASA faced substantial budget cuts.
“This year funding was pretty tight — especially for all the cultural organizations,” organizer and AASA board member Dana Lee ’17 said. “We also applied for council funding and we felt a bit of a budget cut there too. I think that was our biggest concern.”
This year, Lee said, AASA was only able to distribute $100 to every organization, down from the $150 available last year.
Still, AASA organizers said the event was as successful, if not more, than last year.
Lee said she was satisfied with this year’s turnout. Of the 600 tickets AASA printed for the event, all were handed out within little more than an hour, she said.
Event organizer and AASA board member Casey Lee ’17 added that the ways in which they interacted with the event as a whole improved from the previous year.
“We had a really good spread throughout the walkway — [people] weren’t just congregating in the front near the performances,” Casey Lee said.
The Night Market involved 22 student groups and included performances from 11 different campus organizations — such as dance, music and martial arts demonstrations.
Dana Lee added that at this year’s event, attendees lingered longer to watch the performances.
The night began with an act by the Yale Magic Society and ended with a improvisational dance show from the group A Different Drum. Casey Lee said that organizers made an effort was made to include other non-Asian-American groups such as the International Students Organization, Yale European Undergraduates and the Black Student Alliance at Yale.
Alex Zhang ’18, who performed with WORD at the Night Market, said the diversity within the group, and the relationship of its performances to the cultural identities of its members, lent itself to the inclusive nature of the Night Market.
“It feels more like a conversation than if it were at a poetry slam,” Zhang said. “It’s more like a sharing of experience.”
The Night Market’s booths offered not only food but also activities. Students manning the Chinese American Student Association (CASA) booth started paper boat races, while members of the Muslim Student Association painted people’s names in Arabic calligraphy at their station.
Dana Lee said the event, which catered to not only Yale undergraduates but also graduate students and the greater New Haven community, allowed the various groups to promote their own culture and the causes they are devoted to.
Students interviewed offered generally positive responses to the Night Market.
Deanna Brandell ’16, who attended to see her suitemate perform with Yale Wushu, said she especially enjoyed the food but was confused by the free sample tickets. Each participant was supposed to receive only one ticket, which would allow them to obtain one free sample, as opposed to a sample from each booth, Brandell said.
Lee said AASA adopted this ticketing policy this year because in the past students could obtain free samples from as many booths as they wanted, detracting from food sales at the fair. Participating groups, Lee added, were required to provide 50 free samples, but could also have food for sale.
Karen Yang ’18 said groups might have had difficulty selling food because they set high prices.
“Some people weren’t incentivized to actually pay a dollar for a dumpling,” Yang said.
But other students said it is in the premise of a market that goods are going to be offered at a cost.
Garrett Wong SOM ’17 said that expecting the entire event to be free to attendees would put a great strain on the organizations involved.
“It wouldn’t be a true night market if we didn’t sell stuff,” Edward She ’18, who worked at the CASA booth, said.
This year’s Night Market was sponsored by seven different organizations, including the Undergraduate Organizations Committee, the Council on Southeast Asian Studies and the Intercultural Affairs Council.