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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

MIHS’s First Asian Night Market: A Huge Success!

Kira Lancaster
Photo by Kira Lancaster

The ECAAR Club hosted an Asian Night Market Sunday, Feb. 12, at the high school to showcase the diversity of Asian Cultures.

“ECAAR (Education Coalition for Asian American Representation) is a school club dedicated to anti-racism and lifting up the voices and visibility of the AAPI community on Mercer Island and beyond,” MIHS English teacher and supervisor of the club Danielle King said.

For the night market, the club put in a significant amount of work to make it a success and accurately showcase cultures from around Asia. As the Super Bowl was happening on the same day at the same time, the members of ECAAR were worried that there would not be many people attending, but they were blown away by the turnout.

“The event was a huge success, exceeding the club’s expectations,” King said. “Around 400+ people came through the night market including young families, students at the high school and MIHS faculty and staff.”

The night market was a way to showcase Asian culture and promote local businesses. Although mostly based on Taiwanese culture, there were many other cultures represented.

“We wanted to bring diversity into our school, while providing a fun event for the community to take part in,” senior ECAAR member Priya Bhananker said. “We invited local Asian businesses to come sell their products in the MIHS commons.”

The decorations and set-up in the commons were incredible. Some of the stands sold handmade mochi, boba tea and other treats. Others displayed art and artifacts made in different countries around Asia. A “wishing tree” was set up in the lower commons where people could write a wish and hang it on the branches. In a different area, students set up “Tinikling,” a traditional Philippine folk dance involving bamboo sticks sliding across the floor and one person stepping between and over them.

“The goal was to educate our community about Asian culture in a fun way,” Bhananker said. “We hoped that the people who came could take away something from the event that they didn’t previously know about Asian culture.”

“We wanted to provide MI with a new opportunity and bring representation along the way,” another senior ECAAR member, Garrett Lee, said.

It was easy to interact in each station and learn about the culture as well. People could talk to vendors about the culture behind each stand, and be able to enjoy many different treats and purchase art while learning about the history behind them.

Planning and setting up this event took many months and required many ECAAR members to work outside of school and club meetings.

“It was essentially about good communication between everyone involved,” Lee said, “and for a while, we would spend hours each day just drafting and sending emails to multiple parties.”

“ECAAR members were split into groups and tasked with making their own booths with fun activities for the market,” Bhananker said. “I was at the school [at] 10 a.m. along with other members to set up and clean up. I realized that I didn’t sit down at all from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.!”

The night market was a successful event that MIHS students will hopefully be able to attend for years to come.

“We hope the ECAAR Night Market becomes an annual tradition that’s here to stay!” King said. “It was really fun to host an event that’s open to the whole community and hang out with students and staff in a different capacity other than a typical school day. And who doesn’t like coming together around super delicious food and boba tea?”

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About the Contributor
Kira Lancaster
Kira Lancaster, Graphics Manager
Kira Lancaster (she/her) is a sophomore at MIHS and the Graphics Manager for The Islander. She enjoys music and dance and is part of the Mercer Island Drill Team at MIHS. Outside of school, her hobbies include drawing, writing and singing. Her favorite animal is a scorpion!

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    Manuela SousaMar 7, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    The night market was awesome!!
    Let’s hope the tradition continues.
    Well done ECCAR