City Flea – Washington Park

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City Flea is an amazing urban flea market that is held once a month from May to December in Cincinnati. Almost all of the markets take place outdoors at Washington Park. City Flea began in 2011 by a couple who found inspiration in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The first Flea had 45 creative vendors selling home goods, antiques and other unique items. In the past four seasons, City Flea has worked with over 200 local vendors.

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Washington Park is an 8 acre park located in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. The park has a long history in the city, from July 4th to October 27th, 1888 the park and Music Hall served as the site of the Centennial Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Central States, a celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the Northwest Territory. More recently, the park was renovated through a collaboration between the Cincinnati Park Board and the nonprofit 3CDC. The renovation was able to preserve much of the old, historic feel of the park, including many of the existing trees and parts of historic columns and walls. New additions to the park include a fenced dog park, restrooms, a children’s playground, water jets and interactive fountains as well as a concession building. Below the park is a new 450-space parking garage. Programs are offered throughout the year, including a concert series, summer kickball games, free fitness classes and free movie showings.

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Having attended a similar event in Columbus called Columbus Flea (you can read my review of the 2014 Winter Flea on my previous blog, Cbus52: Columbus in a Year), I was excited to see what City Flea had to offer. Kenneth and I tried to catch the Flea in June, just after our first visit to the Findlay Market, but we could not find a place to park. The parking garage at Washington Park was full and we’re still getting used to the area so instead of finding street parking, we kept getting stuck in an endless loop of one-way streets somewhat near the park. In order to make sure we didn’t miss the July event, we arrived at Washington Park early, about twenty minutes before the event was to start at 10am. This time we had our choice of parking spots and were able to check out City Flea before the temperature and humidity became unbearable. We watched a large group participating in an exercise class in the park while we waited for City Flea to officially open.

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The first vendor we visited was selling products made from goat’s milk and had the two most adorable baby miniature goats I’ve ever seen (I’m not sure if I’ve actually ever seen baby miniature goats before, but these two were definitely cuter than any goat I’ve ever met before, miniature or otherwise!). I let them nibble on my fingers while I messed with the settings on my camera, figuring I wouldn’t get a good photo because baby animals never stop moving (unless they’re sleeping, but they were not sleepy). Luckily I got several great photos and didn’t lose any of my fingers to the little nibblers. Goats are my favorite farm animals, they always make me laugh. I love how curious goats are, they just want to taste everything! Obviously I wanted to take one home, but sadly, they weren’t for sale and our apartment only allows cats.

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Look at that face! Adorable!

We wandered around the park for a while and ended up spending a long time at Sara Pearce’s stall, Paper With a Past, looking at vintage maps, ads and prints. We saw gorgeous handmade jewelry and clothes, vintage clothing, furniture and home goods, unique and creative collages, photography and other fine art and a plethora of amazing handmade items. I’m always just as impressed with a vendor’s work as I am with how it is displayed. With so much creativity and ingenuity on display, it’s hard not to leave feeling inspired.

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We took a break for lunch at Taste of Belgium (you can read my review of my first visit to Taste of Belgium here), then came back to browse some more. By this time, the fountains and water jets were on and were crowded with swimming suit clad little kids. I had spotted a really cool Ohio Counties Tee by Indie Loves Indy at the Sunday Afternoon Housewife booth before we had lunch and I had to have it. The tee is super soft, can’t wait to wear it to more fun Ohio events this summer! Check out the rest of my photos below and information about City Flea and Washington Park.

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ohio-120x120The City Flea

Address: 1021 Vine St, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Hours: Varies per market. Click here for the 2014 schedule.

Admission: One smile per person. 🙂

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Washington Park

Address: 1230 Elm St, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Hours: Open daily, 6am – 11pm.

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