Khuan-Yu Hall, Contributing Photographer

The Town Green District’s bi-annual New Haven Night Market attracted bustling crowds to its various vendors on Friday night. 

The bazaar spanned from College Street to York Street, hosting more than 80 local artists and businesses, with the organizers selling additional merch and raffles. The night market was an expansion of last year’s event which was hosted on Orange St. to fewer people and venues.  

Dmitri Cotman, the owner of all-natural spa product store Z.Nith Point, has attended every New Haven Night Market in the past two years. 

“I love the exposure that’s going on tonight,” Cotman said. “I’m New Haven born and raised, got to get my name out here first before I move out to bigger and better. My goal right now is to make this a full time job and to run my own spa store.”

Two months before the market, Town Green District put out a call on social media to small businesses and independent artists in greater New Haven, with information on the upcoming event. Interested businesses submitted samples of merchandise in a simple application, and were notified of a place in the market weeks later.

The set up of the bazaar placed the majority of jewelry, pop art and craft vendors near College street, and food vendors near the York street intersection. The shops located on Chapel Street, including Claire’s Corner Copia and the Yale Center for British Art, stayed open and offered various promotions for enthusiastic customers. 

At the High Street intersection, live performances entertained huge crowds for five hours, beginning with the New Haven fusion group Hawkins Jazz Collective, and concluding with Drag on the Edge, a performance hosted by the New Haven Pride Center. 

Complemented by beautiful weather, the event drew overwhelmingly positive feedback from vendors and customers alike. Sara Bennet, owner of Strange Charm Glassworks, said the night market was “one of [her] favorite events all year.” Bennet is a stained glass artist based in North Haven, working from home. 

Like Bennet, the majority of craft vendors are online-based or mobile businesses operating without store fronts in New Haven. For many artists in the process of launching a business, the Night Market was an opportunity to promote their work.

Multiple stands at the market broadcasted fundraisers and community awareness events. The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen arranged a dunk tank at the invitation of the organizers to fundraise for their organization. Executive director of DESK, Steve Werlin, explained that the soup kitchen and food pantry serve New Haven’s unsheltered population, as well as people experiencing homelessness and poverty in general. 

“It’s certainly the first time we’ve done a dunk tank,” Werlin said. “We really didn’t know what to expect. We signed up for this for the night market event just to get us out there, recruiting volunteers and getting people to learn about what we do. We would have been happy if just a few people said they were gonna do it. But it was wildly successful, which is awesome.”

Customers, ranging from Yale University undergraduate and graduate students, to residents and families in great New Haven, expressed their enthusiasm for the event. 

“I think it’s really fun,” said Benjamin Sanchez Pla ’26. “The night market gave me the opportunity to check out thrift stores and crystal shops, because there’s none around campus, really.” 

Others particularly enjoyed the free beer that was served at The Anchor Spa, which, like many other food stands, drew huge lines. The influx of customers led many food stalls to run out of food after a couple of hours, leaving hungry crowds lingering by the stand for the next batch. 

Another Yale student, Madeleine Keenan ’26, added that the bazaar was a nice opportunity to experience events beyond Yale’s campus. 

“It’s just nice to see all New Haven has to offer, and people who are not in the Yale bubble,” Keenan said.

The Town Green District is a Business Improvement District serving downtown New Haven.

HANNAH KOTLER