After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the 626 Night Market will return for a ninth season to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia this summer.
Over four weekends — Jul 9-11, July 16-18, Aug. 27-29 and Sept. 3-5 —the open-air nighttime market featuring vendors selling food, drinks, crafts, art, live music and other entertainment attraction will welcome visitors from across the San Gabriel Valley.
This year, organizers have chosen “Coming Home” as the event’s theme because “’home’ is a place of familiarity and nostalgia where you see all your friends and family again after a long time like a family reunion.”
To control crowd sizes, the 626 Night Market will have a phased reopening with reduced capacity and staggered entry times for the first two weekends of the event, July 9-11 and July 16-18. Tickets for these two weekends will not be sold at the gate and will have to be purchased online at www.626nightmarket.com/tickets-626. Visitors can choose either the 4-8 p.m. time slot or 8 p.m. to close.
As for masking, current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state that people who are vaccinated do not need a mask and people that are not vaccinated are recommended to wear a mask. The California Department of Public Health strongly recommends that all attendees be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending.
Sanitization of all surfaces will be increased, and hand sanitizing stations will be added for this year, according to PR and Marketing Manager Holly Nguyen. Booths will also be spaced out where possible. “We will continue to monitor the news and decide if we will extend these precautions for the last two events,” Nguyen said.
Additionally, Nguyen addressed how the 626 Night Market is responding to the alarming rise of hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in California. A special report on anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic released Wednesday by California Attorney General Rob Bonta revealed that anti-Asian hate crime events in the state increased by 107% from 43 in 2019 to 89 in 2020.
“With troubling news of AAPI attacks, we also increased police presence at our events to keep everyone safe,” she said. “We will have bag checks at the admission gates and doubled police presence within the event and regular perimeter patrols.”
The 626 Night Market is open Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to midnight and Sundays from 4-11 p.m. Tickets are $5. Parking is free but quickly becomes crowded and you might need to walk quite a distance, so plan for that. Though most vendors accept cash and ATMs are available, it’s advised that you carry cash.