Midnight Market Returns, Bringing a Spring-Break Themed Night of Food, Fun

Students showed up in throngs to get free food and watch live entertainment at Midnight Market on on March 18.

After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students were glad to see SMU’s Program Council (PC) bring back this trademark event. In total, 742 students showed up to enjoy the fun event on Dallas Hall Lawn.

“I love to see people from all over campus run to get food in the middle of studying for midterms and just have a good time,” said Brooke Betik, a Program Council member.

PC themed the event “Bites and Flights” as a result of SMU canceling spring break this semester. In an Instagram post before the event, PC encouraged students to attend, saying, “Don’t worry, you can still travel, but even better, for FREE!”

There were 10 vendor tents, each offering food from a distinct culture. There was also a green screen photo booth. Surrounding all of the tents were strings of bright lights, creating a warm ambiance for students to enjoy the event. The event featured food and entertainment originating from a diverse range of cultures. Sarah Boice, an SMU student who attended the event, loved trying all the foods from different cultures.

Midnight Market featured the following food:

The event featured the following performances:

Brandon Dang is a dancer in Rising Phoenix. The group performed a traditional Chinese lion dance, which is typically performed during the Lunar New year to ward off bad spirits and bring in luck for the new year. At Midnight Market, the group performed an energetic routine that included weaving through the crowd and interacting with students.

“We’re just here to put on a good show for everyone,” Dang said.

The dancers of Rising Phoenix taking a picture at Midnight Market. Photo credit: Ella McCarty.
The dancers of Rising Phoenix taking a picture at Midnight Market. Photo credit: Ella McCarty.

PC staff implemented a number of safety precautions, including individually packaged food, a strict no-eating rule, and check-ins for contact tracing.

“I loved just seeing everyone together,” said Betik. “It felt like we got a little bit of normalcy back while still being safe.”

In past years, Midnight Market has looked similar, but the theme is always different. In 2019, PC threw a “Candyland” themed event, featuring Halloween goodies, candy-colored balloon arrangements, and Candyland cookies. Before that, in 2017, Midnight Market featured live music and food from restaurants like Velvet Taco, Val’s Cheesecake, and more. Student turnout this year was also lower than in some previous years: 1200 students four years ago and 900 students two years ago.

Ella McCarty, Ally Campbell, and Kori Goerlitz contributed to this report.