In September, a new outdoor festival celebrating Asian-American history and contributions in Baltimore will take place in Mount Vernon.
The Charm City Night Market will bring Asian-focused live music, food and art to the 200 block of Park Ave., a historic block of the city’s once-bustling Chinatown, said organizer Stephanie Hsu, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sept. 22. Entry is free with online reservation at eventbrite.com.
Part of the event’s goal is to highlight a formerly popular area of activity and commerce for Asian-Americans, Hsu said.
The area where the festival will take place was once full of Asian American-owned businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and laundromats, she said. It’s also a way to provide a platform for a new generation of Asian-American makers and artists in Baltimore. Together, these stories aim to expand Baltimore’s cultural heritage, Hsu said.
“We want to celebrate not just what it looked like then, but who we look like now,” Hsu said.
The festival, which will connect from Lexington Market to Park Avenue, will feel like an outdoor block party, she said. One of the entertainment headliners for the night is the Baltimore Dance Crews Project, a hip-hop dance group started by Filipino-American dancers Brian Gerardo and Cynthia Chavez. Washington Samulnori, a traditional Korean percussion troupe, will also perform.
Food vendors scheduled to participate include Ekiben, Mera Kitchen Collective and Mochichi. There will also be a soju/sake/beer garden organized by Dooby’s owner Phil Han, and arts vendors selling print work, jewelry and other items. (For more information, go to charmcitynightmarket.splashthat.com.)
The festival will be produced by the Chinatown Collective, a 12-member group of mostly second-generation Asian-Americans, with backgrounds including Taiwanese, Korean, Pakistani and Ethiopian, Hsu said.
The initial inspiration behind the festival came from two longtime residents of Baltimore’s Chinatown, Kitty and Calvin Chin, said Hsu. The two are advocates for preserving Asian-American history in Baltimore, and the Chinatown Collective hopes to push the effort forward with the Night Market and more programming in the future.
“Baltimore is a city of rich immigrant heritage,” Hsu said. “We want to share and showcase those stories as much as we can.”