Flea, farmer’s markets in abundance on the Northside


The Roger Barbour Jazz Quartet performs one Saturday evening in Riverview Park as part of the "Stars at Riverview" Jazz Series hosted by Citiparks. (Photo courtesy Citiparks)

Dust off your lawn chairs, raid your piggy bank and make room in your refrigerator. It’s almost summer on the Northside, and that means flea and farmers markets, Cinema in the Park and outdoor concerts.

Northside Farmers Markets

Despite restoration efforts underway in Allegheny Commons Park along Cedar Avenue, the Citiparks North Side Farmers Market’s normal location, the market will open its season tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.

Vendors will set up where construction ends along Cedar Avenue and circle around to North Avenue so that the market is still highly visible, said Mirella Ranallo, manager of farmers markets at Citiparks.

This early in the season, shoppers can expect potted flowers, vegetable seedlings, baked goods and some green-house grown produce like tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes, Ranallo said.

“Each week you’ll probably see more coming in,” she said, but shoppers won’t see a full selection of produce until the end of June.

Because of the construction, Ranallo chose not to take on any new vendors, but is looking forward to the improvements, like access to electricity.

Farm Fresh Fridays, a program sponsored by the Charm Bracelet Project that brings chefs and live music to the market, will return later this summer as well, Ranallo said.

The market runs every Friday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Charles Street Farm Stand, which opens in June, will run each Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. The Farm Stand accepts food stamps, WIC and nutrition vouchers, and is sponsored by the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank and the Pittsburgh Project.

Northside Flea Markets

One thing that won’t return to Allegheny Commons Park this year is the Deutschtown flea market. In previous years the East Allegheny Community Council sponsored a weekly flea market on Saturday mornings in the park.

This year, lack of volunteers coupled with the park construction has sidelined the market, said EACC member Barbara Burns.

Northside flea market aficionados don’t need to lose hope yet, as a monthly market centered around arts and crafts is moving in.

The Sundae Market, a project started by former Northside resident Benjamin Falvo, will debut in Allegheny Commons Park at East Ohio Street and Cedar Avenue this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Pittsburgh Marathon.

The first market will have 40 vendors selling mostly arts and crafts, as well as clothing and jewelry. Falvo said 40 is light for them, but he was worried about permitting issues and did not market as much as he normally would have.

Unlike a traditional flea market, the Sundae Market solicits sponsorships so that it can offer artists and vendors free space. Vendors still have to apply and be approved by Falvo, but the idea is to give “starving artists” a real chance to sell their work, he said.

The North Side/North Shore Chamber of Commerce and the North Side Cultural Collaborative partnered with Falvo to bring the market to Allegheny Commons Park.

“We hope this will help reactivate the business corridor,” Falvo said, and show business owners that the Northside is a good place to do business.

Future dates for the market will be announced later.

Citiparks events in Riverview Park

You might notice something a bit different about the schedule for this year’s Dollar Bank Cinema in the Parks. There are quite a few older movies, like “Jurassic Park,” the 1989 “Batman” and “Duck Soup.”

Part of the reason for that, said event coordinator Vanessa Bashur, is that older PG-13 movies are more family-friendly than newer ones. They don’t usually contain excessive violence or the “f” bomb.

Another reason for some of the older selections is that Bashur wanted to connect Cinema in the Parks with the Stars at Riverview Jazz Series.

Stars at Riverview features a live jazz performance each Saturday from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and Cinema in the Parks sets up immediately after. So movies like “Heat of the Night” and “Duck Soup” that are more in the “jazz genre” will hopefully entice concert-goers to stay for the movie, Bashur said.

For the full Stars at Riverview and Cinema in the Parks schedule, visit http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/parks/ and click on “Events”.

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