Nighttime is the right time

Northeast Night Market organizers Margie and Madeline Siggelkow plan the layout of their upcoming event at Bauhaus Brewery on Sunday, June 13. The market, which showcases thirty local artisan vendors, musicians and street performers, will take place on Tuesday, June 23.

Juliet Farmer

Northeast Night Market organizers Margie and Madeline Siggelkow plan the layout of their upcoming event at Bauhaus Brewery on Sunday, June 13. The market, which showcases thirty local artisan vendors, musicians and street performers, will take place on Tuesday, June 23.

Grant Tillery

A trip to a night market in New Orleans inspired Margie Siggelkow to create her own version in Minneapolis. Situated between buildings, the narrow promenade in New Orleans featured artisans vending their wares, street musicians improvising off the rhythms of the night and fatty foods that kept revelers happy.
 
“It’s on Frenchmen Street where all the jazz clubs are, and it’s this little nook,” Siggelkow said. “It’s out until 2:00 in the morning, and people just walk around. I thought, ‘Why don’t we have this in Minneapolis? This seems like the perfect place [for a night market].’”
 
Along with her sister Madeline and Bauhaus Brew Labs, Siggelkow put together three night markets: one in June, one in July and one in August. She booked 20 vendors for each market at the outset and relied on friends to spread the word about the event to ensure a crowd. Friends of friends and total strangers quickly received word of the market, and the morning after Siggelkow made the Facebook event page, 500 people confirmed their attendance. Since then, that number has grown to 16,000.
 
“I thought this would be a little community event,” Siggelkow said. “I was like, ‘If we can get 300 people on Facebook that say they’re going, I’m going to be so happy.’”
 
In the search for a spot to hold the market, Bauhaus Brew Labs proved a natural fit, thanks to its narrow, stone courtyard that reminded Siggelkow of the night market in New Orleans.
 
“That’s the core of what the Bauhaus art school was about — uniting all these schools of art and bringing them under one roof and making art accessible to everybody without dumbing it down,” Bauhaus Brew Labs Vice President Lydia Haines said about the brewery.
 
Siggelkow looked at several other venues for holding the event — including public parks — but logistical roadblocks put the ix-nay on any such ideas. 
 
“Originally, I was thinking, ‘Maybe we could do it in a park,’” Siggelkow said. “I talked to the city and learned a little more about what it entails when you have an event on public property. … 
 
The permits and licenses that you have to have — you have to have a license for a microphone, a tent and an extension cord. It just went on and on.”
 
Besides, Bauhaus calls the heart of Northeast Minneapolis home, a neighborhood near and dear to Siggelkow’s heart. On a bright, muggy Tuesdaymorning, she traipsed around the Bauhaus courtyard with her adorable chocolate lab-pit bull mix, pausing every few seconds, looking at home in the industrial milieu.
 

The Northeast Night Market isn’t the first night market in the Twin Cities — that honor goes to the Little Mekong Night Market. The latter, however, is more food-centric than Siggelkow’s baby and derives from traditional night markets that originated in Asia.
 
Unlike other night markets in the country, the Northeast Night Market is subject to antiquated local laws preventing it from becoming an all-night party.
 
“We can’t directly emulate [the New Orleans night market] because laws around here are a lot stricter than they are in New Orleans,” Haines said. “In New Orleans, you can have [an] all night beer, coffee [and] food fest, and no one bats an eye. Here, it’s got to be a little more structured.”
 
Choosing which artists and artisans will participate in the market proved daunting and not without a tinge of remorse for rejecting qualified applicants.
 
“My sister and I were up all week last week, almost crying because we felt so bad rejecting 70 artists,” Siggelkow said of the vetting process.
 
Though Siggelkow works as an event coordinator at a St. Paul school, her job didn’t prepare her for the heavy lifting organizing a festival involves. She’s often mistaken for an important event planner, when in reality the market is a grassroots endeavor with zero funding.
 
“People email me like I’m this big corporate event planner, and I’m like, ‘No. That’s not it at all,’” Siggelkow said. “This is something without funding; we just thought this would be a fun community event, and now it’s just blown up. We’ve kind of had to go backwards.”