Asian Cultural Awareness hosts College's first Cultural Night Market

Posted by Elizabeth Hopkins

On Saturday, Nov. 10, Asian Cultural Awareness and a number of other student organizations hosted the College's first Cultural Night Market in the Spa from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event was a huge success, attracting visitors for the entirety of its duration and kept onlookers captivated with thrilling performances from groups like Breakbeats, Skidaiko, Lift Every Voice, Skidmore Pride Alliance, Ujima and ACA.

The market featured an array of delicious goodies from cultures across the globe. ACA provided East Asian shaved ice, baya kyaw chips and a number of other dishes. Lift Every Voice provided a tantalizing loaf of corn bread. Ujima tempted passers-by with cupcakes bearing national flags from all around the world. Pride Alliance brought a whole array of tasty, rainbow-colored baked goods. One could not help but succumb to any number of these treats.

Entrance to the market was free, and most market items cost no more than five dollars. Students could make purchases with cash or Skid card by purchasing one-dollar tickets at the desk at the entrance. This system rendered the market far more accessible to students without excluding community members who only had cash available for use.

The market offered many other exciting highlights, including Henna tattoos provided by Hayat, priced anywhere between one and five dollars, as well as an arrangement of jewelry By the end of the night, many of the event's attendees wore one of Hayat's exquisite designs.

A slideshow featuring fun facts and photos of cultural night markets in Asia and other areas of the world played throughout the night offering educational entertainment that made the evening even more informative and enjoyable.

The Cultural Night Market was the culmination of a year of intensive planning on the behalf of ACA and twelve other groups. Although organizers Elaine Woo '14, Carol Wu '14 and Shanna Williamson '14 originally intended for the program to be their Honors Forum project, they received such a positive response from the groups they had presented the idea to that the Market quickly escalated into a campus-wide event.

When fall semester arrived, the groups worked tirelessly to accomplish their goal. "We definitely spent more than thirty hours [on planning]," Wu recalled. "We dedicated a lot of our time to this event to be successful, and impact as many people as we could."

They did so with minimal budget, only spending twenty dollars from the Student Government Association account.

Successful off-campus advertising attracted roughly a multitude of people from town. "[Hosting the event] was a really good way to bridge the gap with the Saratoga community," Woo observed.

Student response was overwhelmingly positive. The event's incredible attendance brought in over six hundred dollars over the course of two hours, at least half of which was met within the first thirty minutes.

Proceeds from all sales at the Cultural Night Market will go towards providing program improvements and resources to Project Lift, a free after-school prevention program providing inspiring role models for students in grades one through five in Saratoga Springs.

The organizers of the event have expressed interest in turning the Cultural Night Market into an annual event.

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