Students and community members visit a vendor at the Taiwanese Student Association’s Night Market last year, which attracted about 4,000 visitors. This year, TSA is expecting an even bigger turnout. • Photo courtesy of TSA UW
Students and community members visit a vendor at the Taiwanese Student Association’s Night Market last year, which attracted about 4,000 visitors. This year, TSA is expecting an even bigger turnout. • Photo courtesy of TSA UW

A University of Washington student group aims to recreate a slice of Taiwanese life this May, right on the UW campus.

Taiwanese Student Association’s (TSA) annual Night Market will be held at UW’s Red Square on the evening of May 10.

“Our goal is to spread the culture and the people of Taiwan,” said Henry Lin, UW senior and TSA president.

Night markets are prominent cultural events in Taiwan, Lin explained. The group’s goal is to recreate that event in Seattle in order to spread Taiwanese culture to the greater Seattle community.

The Night Market will feature food vendors and performances from Youtube star Clara C, New Heights, and Lions Ambition. Students will also have the opportunity to perform during the event.

Last year, the event attracted about 4,000 people, according to Lin. This year, they are expecting an even bigger turnout.

“This year, to accommodate that … we are enlarging the night market in terms of space,” Lin said. “Last year we had 12 vendors, this year we have 15. Space-wise, we’re expanding down to the Meany Hall area.”

This year, the Night Market is incorporating vendors that will sell food from other cultures, said Ted Chen, UW graduate student and general officer for TSA.

“In previous years, we’ve focused almost exclusively on [traditional] Taiwanese cuisines … but this year we’ve expanded to include Vietnamese and Thai cuisine because when you go to a night market in Taiwan, it’s actually more diverse than just Taiwanese food,” Chen said.

Chen said in recent years, there has been a surge in immigrants from Vietnam and Thailand in Taiwan, which added to the diversity in cultures represented through the traditional night markets. He said that TSA would like to replicate that environment.

“What you would see in a night market in Taiwan, you’ll find at the Night Market at UW,” he said.

Lin hopes that in the future, the Night Market could further expand to become a street fair-like event that could be held on the streets of the University District instead of just on Red Square.

As for this year’s event, the group hopes that the event can go smoothly and set new standards for the TSA Night Market, Chen said.

“One of the most important Taiwanese aspect that we want to share is the welcoming culture and attitude of Taiwanese people,” Lin said. “The whole event is a family event but at the same time, anyone can come.”

TSA UW Night Market 2014 happens Saturday, May 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at UW Red Square.

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