The city of Binghamton’s first World Night Market withstood gusty winds and scattered downpours with ease on Friday, May 4. Accuweather kept putting out “severe thunderstorm” alerts throughout Friday evening, but that didn’t stop the people of Binghamton from coming down to the Martin Luther King Promenade to experience a unique international bazaar.
World Night Market was held in Downtown Binghamton and showcased how the Binghamton community serves as a mosaic for a number of different cultures. Its location made the promenade look alive and bustling with enthusiasm and energy.
Marie McKenna, president of EatBing and co-owner of Lost Dog Cafe, spearheaded the event along with her team and said she was frustrated that not many events happen along the river.
“I want this city to notice how many people are on the riverwalk right now, and copy it to have more events like this, and bring more people together,” McKenna said.
Tents were set up along the promenade with some of the Binghamton area’s most popular restaurants serving food and drinks as people browsed the artisan booths.
Sylvia Kerber, owner of Caselle Italian Imports in Johnson City, said she was enthusiastic about the future of the involved independent businesses.
“It’s great because for the first time, we’re in a venue where we can charge and it’s not only donations,” Kerber said. “All of the artisans and restaurants have come here together and hopefully that will help us grow.”
Kerber said she thinks a farmers market could be a good idea that could probably come from this festival and really help in the exposure of local businesses.
Throughout the evening, different performers from surrounding areas took the Peacemaker’s Stage to perform various dances and songs spanning across different cultures and traditions.
Some of the performers said they hoped their acts would help build some curiosity around various cultures’ traditions and histories, while also gaining additional exposure to help them branch out of Binghamton.
“I hope [the performances] make a difference,” said Lauren Puente, a dancer with Goeman’s Storytelling Circle Dance. “With our dance group, we bring our own energy and our own sense of being unique, and it would be nice for people to have a general curiosity about us.”
The people of Binghamton attended the World Night Market without knowing what to expect, but the crowd appeared to be enjoying the event. Lionel and Ladene Bourne, a married couple, were two of the many people who came for a different experience involving numerous artisans from all over in one location.
“We’ve gone to night markets in Taiwan, and so we were anxious to come,” Ladene said. “We were hoping that Binghamton would step up to the plate, and they did. It’s wonderful.”