Soon-to-be Night Market visits Bowling Green

Elisabeth Moore

Imagine strolling around Bowling Green among vendors, booths and restaurants, all selling items that may not be accessible during the daytime. Whether you enjoy window shopping or trying new products, the Bowling Green Night Market may be the newest place to visit.

Night markets are exactly what they sound like. In night markets, local and regional vendors are able to rent booths, which will allow them to sell their wares to the general public as normal stores begin to close for the night.

“It’s a fun thing to do in Bowling Green, where there will be food, entertainment and local crafts,” Sol Gvin, one of the student leaders of ENACTUS said. “It will be like a small festival.”

Although the Bowling Green Night Market is still a work in progress, it is currently being ran by ENACTUS, a student group that came to WKU in order to let students become entrepreneurs. ENACTUS can be separated into three words: en, which stands for entrepreneurial; act, which stands for action; and us, which stands for the students involved in ENACTUS.

The main goal of ENACTUS is to improve campus and the world through entrepreneurial action. ENACTUS has been awarded multiple grants in the past to fund their entrepreneurial endeavors. These endeavors include a project where ENACTUS helped connect Burmese refugee families with their cultural heritage by selling native crafts and a Kasigau basket project, where ENACTUS gained $3,500 in sales that were sent to Guilds in Kenya.

“A basic goal of the ENACTUS movement world-wide is to create sustainable ventures that will exist beyond the initial efforts of any team,” Krist Schell, Executive-in-Residence at the Gordon Ford College of Business and faculty adviser for ENACTUS said. “This is a key goal of entrepreneurs to make a venture that creates value after direct inputs are no longer necessary.”

What drew ENACTUS to the idea of night markets is a study abroad that one of the leaders, Joseph Dahmer, did in Asia. Night markets are popular in Asian culture and they can be found mostly in East and Southeast Asia, so when Dahmer took the study abroad to Asia, he got fascinated with the concept of night markets, which he eventually pitched to ENACTUS.

Night markets have steadily become more popular within the United States. The closest night markets in Kentucky are in Louisville and Lexington,  as well as in Nashville.

Many night markets are a daily or weekly event, though ENACTUS said that they would like to make this a monthly event. Although no information about the time and date of the night markets is set in stone, ENACTUS said that they would like to incorporate Stadium Park Plaza and Center Street, though they are still looking for areas downtown that will work best. The time that they are aiming for is between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., which will help bridge the gap between when the downtown stores close and the bars open later on in the night.

When the first Night Market is debuted, ENACTUS is hoping to have at least 40 vendors present. The first Night Market will be facilitated by ENACTUS, though if it is successful, they will be encouraging local businesses and the city of Bowling Green to form together to keep the Night Market running.

“We try to make sustainable projects,” Dahmer said. “It’s not going to be an ENACTUS-led project year after year. We try to find something that can be fixed and to have someone else adopt it and make it their own.”

ENACTUS’ tentative schedule for the Night Market is on March 31 between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., though that is subject to change if certain permits do not go through. With the current weather situation in Bowling Green, Dahmer said that there are multiple plans to continue the Night Market whether there is sun, rain or snow.

Within the Night Market, ENACTUS is aiming to have many local vendors, established businesses and WKU clubs or businesses attending. Whether booths have local artists or chain businesses, ENACTUS is encouraging a wide range of people to attend.

“When I first came to ENACTUS, I had no idea that this Night Market would be something that the community would really jump on board with,” Dahmer said. “The Night Market is going to be shaped by the patrons and the people that go. If you have anything that you would like to sell or anything that you would like to advocate for, I would definitely recommend checking it out.”

Reporter Elisabeth Moore can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @emoore938.