In what is rapidly becoming the borough’s sign of spring, the Queens International Night Market comes roaring back to life Saturday following its winter hiatus.
The wildly popular food-focused festival returns for its fifth season at the New York Hall of Science parking lot at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, having drawn more than one million visitors and helping to launch nearly 250 new businesses in New York City.
“The Queens Night Market has always prioritized diversity, accessibility, and affordability,” Queens Night Market Founder John Wang said. “We’ve represented over 80 countries through our vendors and introduced a novel price cap on food to make the event uniquely accessible.”
Debuting in 2015, the event introduced a novel $5 price cap on all food with the goal of creating a cultural event that appealed to the widest possible audience.
“Despite escalating costs on all fronts, we remain committed to being the most affordable, welcoming and diverse community event in NYC,” Wang said. “The $5 price cap on food will remain in place with just a handful of $6 exemptions.”
The Queens Night Market will open an hour earlier this year to help vendors sell more goods, operating from 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays. This season the partition around the beer and wine garden will be gone and all patrons over 21 will be free to consume alcohol throughout the entire event.
The main draw of the festival continues to be the food vendors from around the planet. Newer food entries this year include Bashkir Farm Cheese Donuts; Norwegian Fårikål and Fiskegrot; Egyptian Hawawshi; Singaporean Mee Pok and Chai Tow Kway; Ukrainian Blintzes; Indian Masala Noodles and Phulka; Mexican Huaraches; Brazilian Pão de Queijo and Brigadeiros; Austrian Paprikahendl; Puerto Rican Pastelles and Rellenos de Papa; South African Voetkoek, Bunny Chow & Kota; Haitian Diri ak Djon Djon and Pikliz; Vietnamese Hu Tieu and Bun Rieu; Dominican Pig Feet Souse & Crab Backs; Indonesian Ote Ote; Czech Langosh; Matzo Brei and Chopped Liver; and much more.
“Immigrants make up 69 percent of Queens entrepreneurs, continuing the borough’s legacy of cultural diversity and neighborhood businesses,” New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Steven Choi said. “The Queens Night Market is a meaningful celebration of how immigrant communities support Queens, and how Queens can support immigrant communities.”
The event also hosts plenty of art and merchandise vendors, and this year will include Pusheen merchandise, vintage apparel, 3D puzzle boxes, soy candles, felted crafts, travel photography, crochet toys, K-pop swag, stationery, small batch soap, henna, vintage brooches and ads, custom woodworks, Mexican handcrafts, NYC-themed apparel, gourmet dog treats, and handmade jewelry.
As in previous seasons, The Queens Night Market features several live performances every Saturday night. To date, the event has featured nearly 200 musicians, bands, and performance groups.
There will be a $5 entry fee for the first two Saturdays in order to alleviate overcrowding and traffic from opening night in previous years, but the festival will be free for the rest of the season.
Tickets for April 20th and April 27th can be purchased at https://queensnightmarket.ticketleap.com/ with 20 percent of the proceeds going to The New York Immigration Coalition and City Harvest.