H & 8th Night Market Adds a Little Spice to OKC Nightlife

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The H & 8th Market in the evening, with Wild Al's Food Truck, a popular food vendor at the festival.
This Hawk's Hotdog stand is a staple at the H & 8th Night Market.
People line-up early for the scrumptious grub served up at H & 8th.

Hudson Avenue comes alive as the sun stretches long across the western sky and the lights of food trucks and local businesses pop on for the monthly H&8th Night Market.

Hundreds of people mosey over, on foot, on bike or by car, for what Laura Massenat likens to a neighborhood picnic.

“I thought it would be like a party, but it’s more like having a bunch of friends over,” said Massenat, co-owner of Elemental Coffee, the anchor of the event. “Everyone feels comfortable and welcome.”

The street festival spans Hudson from Seventh to Eighth Street and lasts from 7 p.m. to midnight on the last Friday of every month.

A variety of gourmet food trucks line the street and musicians stake out a spot in front of Elemental. People eat picnics on the grassy lawn across the street or carry their food with them as they socialize.

Massenat would love to see the event grow to include a variety of people collaborating and contributing: a tattoo artist demonstrating skills and music students performing, perhaps.

“We want there to be something different to see or do each time you come down,” she said.

JD Merryweather, co-chief executive officer and director of marketing and sales of COOP Ale Works, cooked up the idea for the night market last year after traveling to Washington, D.C., and counting 27 food trucks in a row. He’s seen food trucks congregate in Portland, Austin, and Bali, Indonesia. H&8th began in August.

Merryweather loves that H&8th is food-centric and thinks it’s fun that each month, market-goers can find a different variety of food options.

“We’re trying to create cool opportunities for people in this town,” he said. “There’s obviously a demand for it.”

The night market puts the block—including the restaurant Ludivine, Cadence Yoga, and Elemental Coffee—on the map and gets people out of their houses at night, he said.

“Your chances of seeing friends are really good, and your chances of seeing people who are like-minded are really good,” he said.

Massenat thinks H&8th will cause the city to improve its codes for this type of event.

“It’s a good thing,” she said. “It pushes the city forward in all ways.”

Merryweather would like the night market to cover both lanes of Hudson or move into the nearby parking lot for improved safety.

“I think the city needs to step up and foster this a little more,” he said, and make it “a little more hassle-free where the licensing isn’t as much of a burden.”

He sees the event as helping food trucks make a name for themselves and develop thriving mobile businesses or expand to brick-and-mortar locations.

Massenat sees H&8th as helping the community develop, as well. She thinks H&8th can be a venue to promote other good things happening in Oklahoma City. The night market already shares tables and chairs with the Plaza District.

H&8th, she said, is “proof that we’re becoming a great city.”

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