Falls Flea this year was off to a rainy start, but that didn’t stop bargain hunters from coming out in droves for great deals on clothes, antiques, and funky treasures of all kinds. A pop-up playground & a bike raffle, too.  Pics and videos of McMichael’s annual neighborhood fair. 

EastFallsLocal survey text Falls Flea

Funny how the rain date was actually wetter than the original day picked for East Falls’ biggest, bestest (!) outdoor market. No matter! It’s actually quite easy to shop under tarps (when necessary). And kinda fun, too, being out together in fussy weather.

So many vendors! So much stuff! Three sides of McMichael park were lined with stalls, plus community groups and attractions on the inside, including — dant dant! The controversial “pop-up playground”

EastFallsLocal playspace collage

Which turned out to be a pretty big hit.

Kids of all ages seemed irresistibly drawn to Dan Ostrov‘s design — obviously balancing on it was fun, but we also saw kids daring to jump from beam to beam, or just standing tall at the top for as long as they could.

We even saw kids playing UNDER it, like a cave. In fact, Dan’s full-scale design envisions areas kids can crawl in to feel enclosed, but are still open enough for parents to keep an eye on things: “It’s important for kids to get in it, crawl on it, under it… try to figure it out.”

Dan sees a playground with lots of little challenges for kids to discover and conquer, and from what we saw, this “Prototype A” certainly met this goal.

EastFallsLocal bike raffle at falls flea

We had a clear view of the Pop-Up Playground all day, too, from our vantage point in East Falls Development Corporation’s tent. Tickets were selling briskly for the new Fuji Cruiser they’re raffling off for this year’s Bike Race.  Just a dollar a chance — on sale now at National Penn bank, where the bike’s also on display. (With a much better sign than the one we threw together above, ha.)

EastFallsLocal collage rainy browers

Of course I took a few booth-breaks to browse! This year, Phila Flea was brought on to coordinate the event, and they did a fantastic job filling the park with a great variety of vendors. In previous years, I felt Falls Flea seemed skewed towards high-end crafts & jewelry — cool to look at, but I rarely felt tempted to splurge.

EastFallsLocal collage shopper grapesThis year, stalls seemed to be offering more “flea market-type” stuff:  retro furniture, vintage clothing, costume jewelry… the kinda collectibles you’d see at really good yard sale, or a church bazaar in a funky neighborhood.

Not all used stuff, either — plenty of original local art, some crafts, and even new clothing at a range of comfortable price points.

EastFallsLocal collage flea market stuffI can relate to this stuff! When I told one vendor her wares reminded me of the closet of a glamorous aunt, she whipped out her card that read, “Aunt Edna’s Closet,” and screamed with laughter. Of course she did! Thumbs up on Phila Flea! Not just fun stuff to rummage thru, but nice people, too.

Kinda glad I only had like ten bucks in my wallet, but next year I will definitely be more prepared. Not that vendors were hurting for our money — the booths on either side of us, at least, were thrilled with their sales. Apparently, folks were in the mood to shop despite the weather.

EastFallsLocal food truck collage

Big cheers for Tacos Without Borders, who showed up despite the rain to offer a gourmet menu that was popular with the crowd: truffle-Parmesan fries, brisket cheesesteaks, a dry-aged cheeseburger….  A nice mix of items, with really friendly servers. And right in front of our booth, too, where they had a brisk line most of the day.

EastFallsLocal flea market snapshot randomness text

Rain fell off and on, but that didn’t seem to (ahem) dampen spirits at Falls Flea one bit. Dogs, kids, bikes, frisbees, strollers — McMichael Park was buzzing with life and activity.

Big props to Friends of McMichael for all their care & maintenance here over the years.

And much gratitude to Steam Chamber for donating the wood and then building the pop-up playground so many kids (and grown-ups!) enjoyed. If McMichael’s getting a playground, Dan’s design seems right on the mark for East Falls: artistic, unique, natural, fun for all.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support Falls Flea.

Wanna help next year? Shoot your name/contact info over to EFCC’s Events Committee chair.