Fit Pantry - a Fit Foodie's thoughts, tips and recipe

Thursday, August 8, 2013

626 Night Market - A Walk in the Park

With Andy ^_^ Gotta love a handy hubby.
He installed the banner, lights and fixtures.
We did it! My first experience ever as a food vendor. And of all the events, I chose 626 Night market with over 50,000 attendance.... Great. I mean, really, GREAT!!

I chose this venue because it's focusing on Asian food, the location is prime and close to home, and they are organized. I heard about their first infamous venture in Pasadena. Hey, when the first time you made a mess, you learned and do better next time and the next and each time you will improve, right? The organizer of 626 Night Market did just that.

One Foodie-Fated Afternoon

I went to the June 2013 event unplanned. Literally came across it as Andy and I were chilling at the Santa Anita Mall one Saturday afternoon while casually discussing about other things I could do beside design or fitness. "Of course cooking," I said to him. Then we talked about what kind of food and how we could make it into a business. Typical husband and wife conversation, I bet...

In short, we started talking about food fair. With a quick google-ing skill on my iPhone I found out that the 626 Night Market was actually going on that very weekend! Coincidence? Well, I don't believe in coincidence :)

June event. I wasn't prepared
to walk around surveying a
fair. Those sandals were
killing me!
So we went and check it out. Far from being the infamous worst night market ever, this event was clean and well organized. There were a lot of staff and volunteers around the park and all of them friendly and helpful. I love the set up too. Santa Anita Park is beautiful, with lots of trees and open spaces. We talked to the staff at the information booth about joining the next event and guess what, they were ready with all of the information a girl needs to be one, including step by step how-to's with pictures. The organizer of the 626 Night Market has made it very easy to join.

Decision made, I signed up.

Now, the prep works and logistic. Deciding on what to sell was only the beginning. How to produce it in large quantity, how to store them, transport, prepare and serve them were another challenge.

I was psyching myself up to invest on equipment and put in my time. I know it was not going to be a walk in the park. I had to be ready for long hours ahead.

Gym time pays off!! LOL
It was a bit unnerving, I got to admit. I have never done a large scale food fair before. Closest I did was school fair or church. All of the preparations, permits I had to acquire, the amount of food I had to make, investment on equipments, the crew/labor and the total cost involved.... whew! Basically I was taking a risk of the whole thing bombed and losing money.

Then again, it is part of starting your own business, right? Taking the risk, keeping your head high and your cost as low as possible. Many of the equipments used for the fair were borrowed from family and friends. In a short time, I had piles of ice boxes in our garage, burners & propane tanks, large steamers, boxes of supplies, and two new box freezers.

Fitness, Food & Fun

While the idea is to test the food in an open market, we also strive to enjoy the whole experience. I had help from friends I made at the gym. What do you expect, my hang out is the gym :)

So there you have it. What happened when a bunch of fitness people high on endorphin, loaded with positive attitude and over flowing passion for good food got together, added a pumped up music?? Well, we workout!!

More videos can be found on FitPantry YouTube channel.

Fun aside, I learned a lot from that weekend. How much food I could expect to sell, on marketing and branding, what to change on the banner, how to make things more interesting, how to control the lines, etc. Things that I would not have known unless I jumped in with both legs in the water sort to speak.

Not a cheap school, but we did all right. We break even on this first venture and we are going to join the next night market on Labor Day weekend, Aug 31 - Sep 1. 

There will be more items in the menu, more drinks, re-branding and tweaking the presentation. Even a talk of glow sticks and disco ball... wha... ??.....  Anyway, we will be more ready this time :)

 I Love You Guys!!

At the end of the day, I know that I couldn't have made it on my own. I am blessed to have a slew of support from friends and families, who are all the way behind me on this from the making and preparation of the food, to the day of the event, when we had to set up, serving customers, and cleaning up (through midnight and later!).

So, friends, family, husband, thank you sooooo so much for your support, your energy and your love. BIG TIME! And to the organizers of 626 Night Market, excellent work in controlling the masses and the army of vendors; you guys made it easy and painless for a green-vendor like myself get this experience.

All of you have made this event a walk in the park :) 

 More photos on Facebook -->


  1. Great write up of your experience as a first time vendor! It's great to hear vendors pursue their dreams and goals. Most importantly, it's great to hear about your self reflection--what you learned from the experience and how to improve! We look forward to having you again at the next 626 Night Market! Excellent job, Fit Pantry team.

    1. If it's not because you guys being very organized and helpful, this won't happen :) Good job on the legworks.

  2. Loved having you guys. GOOD JOB!!!