SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a one-night Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Night Market on Capitol Mall in Downtown Sacramento.
The night market is meant to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which takes place during the month of May. The rich AAPI culture within the Sacramento region will be beautifully celebrated along with over 30 AAPI-owned food and drink vendors and local AAPI merchants.
There will also be live screen printing and musical performances by local artists Kiyomi, DJ Soosh, and Basi Vibe. Filipino-American Bay Area rapper P-Lo will be headlining.
"We wanted to find a way to bring the community together to not only celebrate the Heritage Month but also celebrate our AAPI community, the people, the food, the art and the culture," said Matt Sumida, director of marketing and community relations at the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
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The market will take place on Capitol Mall, between 3rd and 5th, and L and O Streets, which has a huge significance to the Asian Pacific community in Sacramento.
Capitol Mall used to be known as Sacramento's 'Japantown.'
According to the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, between the years 1880 to 1940, Japanese Americans started to expand from a small community to a thriving cultural center filled with businesses and entertainment.
By 1940, Sacramento’s Japantown had hundreds of businesses ranging from markets to traditional flower arrangements to cultural sporting events like sumo wrestling.
However, due to the results of World War II, the Japanese American community was forced to uproot Japantown and relocate to a much smaller area.
Now, Sacramento's Japantown is between 9th and 11th and T and W Streets. Although the area's much smaller, businesses and shops, some that have remained there since relocating, are alive and buzzing with energy, according to the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Also, based on a 2022 analysis by Smart Asset, the Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom metro area ranks among the top 10 places for Asian American entrepreneurs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for various small businesses, and the rise of anti-Asian hate has hurt many businesses. This night market is not only a time for the Asian and Japanese American communities to honor and reclaim the area their ancestors once frequented, it's also a time to bring people together to celebrate and provide people and the community with a platform to learn about local businesses and how to support them.
"Personally, as a fourth-generation Japanese American who has grown up in Sacramento, it is empowering," Sumida said. "It's really cool to be able to have an event where we're bringing the community to celebrate the whole Asian Pacific Islander culture. That's really cool to see."
A full list of vendors as well as tickets are available on the AAPI Night Market website at www.aapinightmarket.com.
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