What’s the Deal with the Kensington Night Market?

Local

What? You thought Second Street Festival was the only vendor-filled, arts-inspired big-ass block party? …Well. Me too.

But with the rise of Kensington (Yes. Believe it if you don’t already, people.), the summer celebrations extend far past the limits of Northern Liberties. We’re talkin’ closing down blocks upon blocks of Fishtown/Kensington’s own Frankford Ave, and let me tell you, people – it was a force to be reckoned with.

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The Kensington Night Market took place on August 9, 2018. This captures a mere fraction of the length of that thing.


Throughout the festival, there had been tons of different forms of arts and entertainment–from blind-folded pottery contests, to drummers bangin’ on buckets with their hands, to DJs accompanied by people dancing in the streets, and even a group of people who just jump around. A lot. Very high. With lots of tricks.

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And here, we see the blind-folded spinning in action. If you’ve ever wanted to take a pottery class, I’ve heard good things about The Clay Studio found on N 2nd Street. This is also a good thing about them—they’re creative. Or maybe they’re just showing off. Who’s to say?


And while you’re strolling, you’ll also notice tons of cute clothing boutiques with permanent locations lining the street. My personal favorite? Urban Exchange Project, located at the intersection of Frankford and Susquehanna Avenues. They’ve got everything hip, young, and urban from the budding 2000s and earlier. The upstairs is full of contemporary, straight fire items, from windbreakers (shown below), to funky sunglasses, to tons of cool denim. Downstairs has more clothes that vary, depending on your tastes–aka, they’ve got something for everyone. It’s like a traditional “good” thrift store in terms of style, with a hint of city-slicker decorations, like a giant record wall.

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About once a month, Urban Exchange Project does a Fill-A-Bag sale where you can fill a bag up with all the stuff you want from downstairs for only $30. They also are starting to host First Friday events, so check out what they’ve got. There are talks of local artists, kick-ass music, fun jewelry—you name it. But you’ll just have to show up to see exactly what they whip up that month!


The Kensington Market also has a plethora of tents and tables full of one-of-a-kind clothing as well, often locally-inspired. These guys from Devilfish Ink were one table we caught wind of and immediately were intrigued by their inventory. Peep the “aphillyations.”

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T-shirts were only $10 each, and they all had references to Philadelphia, Fishtown, Kensington, and other area-related artwork.

We had to represent, naturally, if we’re gonna frequent these streets as much as we have been. And what’s not to love about ‘em? In fact, at the intersection of these streets is where a lot of the Fishtown magic happens.

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Of course, with all the walkin’ and talkin’, you’re gonna wanna pig out. Okay, let’s be real–the smells and brightly-colored food trucks alone will make you lick your lips and take out your wallet. There are so many food vendors, from BBQ to Asian-inspired, to “balls,” to desserts; but my favorite? Mexican food (Most especially, Pancho’s Cafe).

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Is that Pancho himself? I’m not so sure, but this is definitely his café–or the stand. They did serve pina coladas in actual pineapples, which is always a street festival staple for an IG photo opp, although I’m not sure if they’re alcoholic.

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Cheese quesadilla with pico de gallo inside. Bon appetit, vegetarians.

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While we ate, we chilled at the vacant lot/“park” (?) beside this mural. If you’re looking for a cool wall to take a picture of literally anything in front of… this is your local guy.


With food, comes thirst (or even without food), so they’ve got plenty of drinks to quench your thirst. We’ve seen upside-down giant lightbulbs with virgin juices filling it to the brim, those classic pineapple cups (reservoirs), old-fashioned Coca Cola bottles, and what else other than some local beer? We stopped at both Troegs’ tent to fetch some ciders and blood orange IPAs, and later found ourselves moseying down to Hagert and Frankford to Philadelphia Brewing Co.’s very own string-light-lit beer garden.

Here, we tried some raspberry cider courtesy of Commonwealth, but they had a ton of other ciders on tap.

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You can’t bring beverages into the beer garden, and you can’t bring any of the drinks you purchase in there, outside. But we kind of just walked to the bordering street when we were done with our ciders in hand, and no one even batted an eye. Rules, man.


All in all, the Kensington Night Market is a street festival that I’ll be revisiting next year, and I hope you will too. Fishtown's been on the rise for quite some time, and now it’s cool to see its cool-factor spreading its love down closer and closer to my new neck of the woods.

Nina Ricci

Blogger of All Things Fun

 

 

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