This Wednesday, a section of Wisconsin Avenue between Plankinton and Vel R. Phillips Avenue will be filled with more than 100 vendors and street performers for the final NEWaukee Night Market of the summer.
The Market will be held from 5 to 10 p.m.
The NEWaukee Night Market is held monthly, from June to September. The market’s purpose is to gather local vendors, artists and performers into one free event for anyone to enjoy.
“It transforms the heart of downtown into this exciting fusion of all that the city has to offer,” Wyatt Tinder, the design and communications specialist at NEWaukee, said.
NEWaukee is a “social architecture agency,” Tinder said. According to its website, NEWaukee “designs memorable in-person experiences that create a beacon of belonging inside the communities and companies (they) work with” through the method of “social architecture.” The website defines social architecture as “the conscious design of an environment that encourages the desired range of social behaviors leading toward a goal.”
Tinder said NEWaukee hosts over 100 events around Milwaukee every year, many of which are free and open to the public. The Night Market, which first began in 2014 as a small art market in a parking lot, is now NEWaukee’s largest event, and is considered part of Milwaukee’s summer festival lineup by many, Tinder said.
Vendors range from food trucks to local artists to businesses and services.
One regular vendor at the Night Market is Marco Pollo, a food truck selling fried chicken with various sauces from around the world. Owned by Samuel Yin and his wife Lydia, the small business’ name is a play on words with the Spanish word for chicken and the historical explorer Marco Polo, who traveled the world, reflecting Marco Pollo’s variety of sauces including Thai, Indian, Chinese and Mexican, Samuel Yin said.
Yin said Marco Pollo is an extremely popular food truck at various events, both private and public, during the summer.
Samuel and Lydia started the truck in 2014, and it been a regular at the NEWaukee Night Markets for the past four or five years, Yin said.
“Every time, we do see a long line … throughout the whole night,” Yin said. “I think it’s one of the best night markets in Wisconsin.”
In addition to the food truck trailer — which, Yin said, was hand-painted by a local artist — Marco Pollo has a location in the cafeteria of the Eleven25 at Pabst, an off-campus apartment building. This January, Samuel Yin said he and Lydia opened a second business in the food court, called Bento Xpert, which sells authentic Taiwanese food. Yin said this addition has been popular for international Marquette students that visit the Eleven25 food court.
Britney Roman, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, attended the Night Market this July. She said she arrived at 7:30 p.m. and stayed until the market ended.
Roman said the market was “chill” toward the beginning. She and her friends walked around to multiple vendors, sat and talked and took pictures. Then towards the end of the night, a DJ in the middle of the street played music. Roman said the music was mostly “throwback jams” in both English and Spanish, which she said she appreciated, as she is Puerto Rican.
Roman said people of all ages and races from the city of Milwaukee came and danced in the street.
“It was so fun, honestly. It was really, really fun,” Roman said. “They had to kick us out basically because the music was so good that we didn’t want to leave.”