Night market coming to DeKalb County

The first Atlanta International Night Market was held in Gwinnett County in April. The DeKalb County event is scheduled for Nov. 3-5 in the Northlake Mall parking lot.

The first Atlanta International Night Market was held in Gwinnett County in April. The DeKalb County event is scheduled for Nov. 3-5 in the Northlake Mall parking lot.

Most festivals start to wind down at sunset but an outdoor event new to DeKalb County expects to do the opposite and wind up just as the sun is going down.

The Atlanta International Night Market (AINM) is a three-night festival taking over the parking lot of Northlake Mall Nov. 3-5. With a slogan of “Taste the World,” the festival is expected to feature more than 200 vendors selling art, food and drink representing cultures from around the globe. A wide range of entertainment also will be in the spotlight. Event organizers are projecting attendance of 75,000.

The market will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

This will be the second AINM event this year. The first was held in Gwinnett County in April and drew 52,000 attendees, according to festival officials.

David Lee, owner of eight Saigon Café restaurants in metro Atlanta, came up with the idea of the event several years ago.

Lee came to the United States from Vietnam when he was 11 years old. After living in Colorado and California, he moved to Atlanta in 1996, just before the start of the Olympic Games.

Although there are plenty of festivals in Atlanta, Lee said none capture the rich diversity reflected in the area’s communities. He reminisced about attending night markets in Vietnam with his parents and sister, eating food on the street and shopping.

“There’s nothing in the area where we can bring people together over food. I am in the food business. It’s a great thing,” said Lee.

Lee shared this concept with others, formed AINM, a non-profit organization “dedicated to bringing people together under the night sky for a celebration of culture, community, and international cuisine,” then got busy preparing for their first event in Gwinnett County.

Lee said he hopes the night market will help people of different cultures have a greater appreciation of each other.

Night markets are common in many Asian and African countries as high daytime temperatures prevent people from congregating during the day and instead they venture out for shopping and eating after sunset.

Among areas to explore at the night market in November are: 

Artist Village

Kids Zone Village

Specialty Drink and Dessert Village

Veggie Village

International Beer Village

Southeast Asian Village

Europe, Middle East and Africa Village

Caribbean Village

North, South and Central America Village

Among vendors currently listed on AIMN’s website for the DeKalb night market: Soul Vegetarian, Tugende Designs, Thai Kitchen & Bar, Kochi Sushi & Hibachi, La Michoacana Loca, Pure Vegan Eats, Schnitzel Bros. German Kitchen, Peruvian Stamp, Saar Collection, Papin Bites Colombian Street Food and Chef Q’s Soul Shack.

David Trotter, AINM’s marketing director, said AINM is a one-of-a-kind event.

“It’s different than other festival taking place in Atlanta,” said Trotter. “It’s about celebrating diversity. When you can learn from other cultures we are all better off.”

Trotter added that the plan is to hold two festivals in metro Atlanta each year and if the concept proves successful to eventually establish similar night markets in other cities.

The entertainment lineup is as far-ranging as the food and art including:

Indian, Polynesian, Cambodian and Peruvian traditional dance and song

American folk and R&B singers

Caribbean, Korean pop and reggae music

Fire dancers

Bollywood dance and music

French vocalist

Hip hop majorette dance team

Traditional Chinese and Korean drumming teams

The night market also has a charitable component—15 nonprofits have been chosen to have free booths at the market where they can sell items and raise awareness about what they do. Amani Women’s Center in Clarkston, which serves refugee women, is one of those charities, according to Trotter.

General admission ticket to the night market are $5. VIP tickets are $50 and include admission to the VIP area with an open bar, entertainment, food and more.

For tickets or more information, go to

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