Hi, this is Tiffany with some answers to your questions. Event planning is complicated, and selling food in the US is even more complicated. most people don't tell you the full story but i want to be transparent so we can all learn about it.
Mayo Civic Riverfront Plaza is a public space and allows dogs that are on-leash, vaccinated, and sociable with other dogs and humans. Owners must be responsible to cleanup after them. However, the performance is held in Rochester Art Center, and Rochester Art Center only allows service animals.
Night Markets in Asia never take cards, cash is king. While most vendor might have square set up, it’s still best to bring some cash with you just in case!
Welcome to a authentic night market experience. It was something I didn’t think I could recreate or achieve, so thank you for showing up and making it feel like a real night market.
The good night markets are almost always crowded in Taiwan no matter the size, and people would want to stand in the longest lines for food as the lines are signals for the best food. The hardcore foodies would get to the market 1h before the famous food stalls open and just wait so they could be the first to get foods! (Not suggesting that you do that, I’m just telling you how crazy people are about food in Taiwan)
PRO TIP: Grab a drink before you start standing in line, find a buddy to stand in line with, have a good conversation, enjoy the vibe, and take some selfies!
A lot of food vendors were out of town on 7/17, other restaurants I reached out to in Rochester are extremely short-staffed so they couldn’t join us. There is also a limited amount of food vendors I can have on Mayo Civic Riverfront Plaza due to fire code, and electricity requirements. The plaza isn’t really designed for food vendors, unfortunately. We will have Thai Pop & Old Abe Coffee Co. join us in August.
Food license & regulations can be hard to navigate for new vendors. The cost to set up is also higher. New vendors will need to find a commercial kitchen to prep in or prep everything onsite and apply for Special Event Food Stand license. I am currently working on some documentation to help more first-time vendors secure proper licensing.
You can read more about the requirements on the bottom of this page.
The Mayo Civic Center Riverfront Plaza is not made for food trucks to drive on. Only the concrete in the middle of the plaza is made to sustain heavy weight, and not the sides, where the vendors are, MCC was concerned that having food trucks will damage the plaza & concrete.
The sunsets at 9pm in the summer in MN, while sunset is around 5:30/6:30 in Asia. I wish it would be at night too. As we get closer to fall it will get dark earlier. The other concern was for vendors to get home at a reasonable time after pack-up.
Take 9pm end time for example, we officially finished packing up at 10:30, some vendors coming from St Paul still had 1.5h drive home and I hope that they didn’t spending another hour or two unpacking/clean up after they get home.
Music is actually not a part of a traditional night markets in Asia. It’s very much a Westernized portion I added to the event because it’s a great opportunity to share different arts and culture with people. We’re unsure at this moment whether we could move to the back patio of Rochester Art Center but it will be discussed.
For the first event we weren’t sure how many people would show up nor how many vendors we could actually fit inside & outside. We managed to fit 26 vendors! We are planning on adding more vendors on the back patio or if the performance is moved to the back patio then more vendors in Rochester Art Center.
Define International? If I were in Taiwan, would cornhole be “International”? It’s a game a lot of people moving to Rochester had learned to play, including myself, and it’s a game that can be set up without a person coaching others on how to play since we are running on minimal staff. The cornhole actually came from the home of a Cambodian community member.
Would love to have an organization to set up a tent booth, but we are strapped for space. Spaces are reserved for vendors.
BUT, also, is MN not part of the globe and has it’s own culture? This is a celebration of Rochester and people in Rochester after all.
Short Answer: I had no idea how many people would show up.
Long Answer: That involves parks and recs and it sounded very complicated so as a team of mostly 1, I didn’t want to deal with it. I couldn’t afford renting the extra space without knowing whether I could secure enough sponsors for the event. I still don’t know if I can afford renting both spaces, but will plan on having a better flow through the art center by either moving the performance to the back patio or having vendors on the patio.
I WANT TO SELL FOOOOODS!
- Are you planning on prepping everything on-site?
If yes: What equipment will you be using? Do you require electricity or use propane/charcoal?
If no: Do you have a licensed commercial kitchen where you can prep in?
- Do you have proper Food Permit? Food permit is required for the event. With “Special Event Food Stand Permit”, you will be allowed to cook and prep everything on-site & serve to customers. You can learn more about the permit HERE, or consider selling Cottage Foods instead. (The relevant PDFs are “Food Stand Guidelines” and “Food Stand Cart License Application 2021” & Special Event Food Stand Permit.)
- Do you have Food Liability Insurance?
- Will you be able to service 500 portions to attendees?
COPY & PASTE THIS WITH YOUR ANSWERS & EMAIL TO YAY@NIGHTMARKETMN.COM, and Tiffany can help connect you with the food inspector if needed or tell you whether there is space available. Food vending space is limited at Mayo Civic Riverfront Plaza unless you’re selling cottage foods.