UK Delta Phi Lambda hosts UK’s first ‘859 Night Market’


Amelia Bucher, Reporter

UK Delta Phi Lambda, an Asian-interest sorority, and the Asian American Association joined forces to administer the 859 Night Market on Friday, April 21. 

Local Asian restaurants and campus organizations set up tents on UK’s main lawn for this multicultural event. 

Angelina Kue, Delta Phi Lambda’s president, said that the event was planned around 2020 but was canceled due to COVID-19.

With schools now being in session without COVID-19 restrictions, Delta Phi Lambda introduced the market’s plans with other Asian-interest groups. 

“We decided to collaborate with the Asian American Association to unite the Asian community,” Kue said.

According to Delta Phi Lambda’s social media, the event “is inspired by the night markets that traditionally take place all over Asia.”

A Japanese food truck, boba tea stands, Indian cuisine, Vietnamese games, and more were set up close together, resembling traditional Asian vendor markets as paper lanterns and lights floated overhead. 

The event was advertised on social media and around campus over a week in advance, and the crowd was larger than anticipated. 

“We planned for 100 people and bought wristbands for 150 people, but we ran out. It turns out there were 375 people,” Kue said.

Jade Miller, a freshman chemical engineering student at UK and the social media coordinator for the Asian Women’s Alliance club (AWA), noted that the market gave students the chance to partake in activities otherwise not readily available to them. 

“I really love the market because I feel like there are not a lot of mainstream Asian things to do on campus, so I think it’s really great because it gives people who do have an Asian background the opportunity to try different things and meet other people,” Miller said. 

Jasmine Ngo, a freshman member of AWA majoring in human health sciences, commented on the variety of people she saw at the market.

“I’m really happy with how many non-Asian people came as well. I was really afraid that it was just going to be us but seeing this many people, even if the lines are long and it’s raining, I’m really happy to see how many people have stuck around,” Ngo said.

Students, faculty and friends huddled under umbrellas and weaved through the scene to grab food, play cultural games, learn about clubs on campus and watch special performances from SaraGrace Ramlochan and The Fam Foundation Inc. 

The Fam Foundation Inc. is a Lexington based dance company who opened the night with a number that incorporated hip-hop style dance with Asian-inspired music. 

Taking the stage afterward was singer SaraGrace Ramlochan, who showcased classical Hindi music. 

Teppan, Kung Fu Tea, Mekhan Indian Cuisine and Everest Nepalese & Indian Cuisine were the local restaurants that provided food for the market.

Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Martial Arts was a booth featured at the event. They are a self-defense club open to everyone interested in growing in all aspects.

“I just want people to see that there is something on campus for them. If they want to develop themselves spiritually, mentally, we’ll help them train all the way through,” Bounratsami Phravorachith, vice president of Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Martial Arts, said.

A common goal of the event was to bring awareness to Asian culture on campus and create a closer community. 

“We would like the APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) community to be more united, that’s why we invited the Japanese Language Club, Chinese Club, Asian Women’s Alliance and University of Louisville’s Vietnamese Student Association to host stalls and games,” Kue said. “UK is a predominantly white institution, so we wanted to share and celebrate Asian Culture with those who do not have knowledge or exposure to it.”

Considering the large, eager crowd that supported this year’s 859 Night Market, the organizations anticipate this becoming an annual event. 

Kue said Delta Phi Lambda and the Asian American Association are looking to incorporate more Asian organizations and performers in the coming years.

“For years to come, we want the night market to be more inclusive and include other cultures so it can be a cultural night market rather than just an Asian night market,” Due said.