This story was originally published on Aug. 2, 2015.
San Antonio isn’t as sleepy as it used to be. People and places are coming alive at night. One of the newest examples of this is starting August 11 when the People’s Nite Market will be open every other Tuesday from 5-9 p.m. through November at La Villita Historic Arts Village.
The night market is the creation of Valeria Hernandez and Jovanna Lopez who lived in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively, until finding their way back home to San Antonio. During their time in two of the nation’s major economic hubs – with high costs of living – the women shopped at farmers markets to buy fresh produce and crafts at cheaper prices.
When Hernandez and Lopez returned home to San Antonio the women shopped at local markets like the Pearl Farmers Market, but since they work full-time jobs and are often busy during the weekend, they missed out on some of the daytime opportunities.
“We both have experienced different kinds of farmers markets and we felt like there was a void here that needs to be filled, and not just in markets but a night market,” Lopez said.
Lopez said she wanted to offer people like herself who are often busy during the day the opportunity to shop at a farmers market. And so the People’s Nite Market was born.
Lopez and Hernandez approached the City of San Antonio Department for Culture & Creative Development (DCCD) with their plan, and the City responded not only with affirmation, but offered the women La Villita as a place to set up shop.
“The City has been very generous,” Hernandez said.
They invited restauranteurs and artisans across a variety of cultures to participate in the market. Some of the vendors include Cherinet’s Ethiopian Cuisine, Little India threading and henna salon, and Naara Café and hookah bar.
Lopez said during her stint in New York City, where she lived for eight years, she attended farmers markets where people from all different cultures sold their native food and crafts.
“We want to open people’s eyes to the different communities that are here,” Lopez said.
Hernandez said the farmers market provides an opportunity for people to learn about the healthy lifestyles of each other’s cultures.
“Everybody has different ways of having health in their own culture there are a lot of commonalities but there are a lot of differences and it will make cross-cultural interest happen,” Hernandez said.
She said the market will create avenues of access and communication that otherwise might not happen.
La Villita’s location, which takes up about 16 acres near the heart of downtown at 418 Villita St., will likely attract traffic from surrounding neighborhoods such as Southtown. Hernandez said the market will offer a bike valet for those who come on two wheels.
“I think for us the point is to get those specific people (who live in Southtown) to walk or bike (to the market),” she said.
Since the night market coincides with Downtown Tuesday, free City-owned parking is available throughout downtown.
Individual vendors pay $30 a booth and 5% of their sales to cover security and janitorial duties. Interested vendors can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Featured/top image: Valeria Hernandez (left) and Jovanna Lopez founded The People’s Nite Market. Photo by Joan Vinson.