If you are itching for the chance to get outdoors a bit more this sun-kissed season, you’re in luck. This weekend marks the opening of one of the most unique pop-ups in the city of Philadelphia: The Oval. The seasonal park takes over Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and will remain open for four weeks this summer, from July 19 to Aug. 18.
“After last year’s successful expansion down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the seventh year of The Oval is going to bring even more family-friendly and free events and activities to Philadelphians and visitors alike,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in a release. “Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy work hard to make The Oval bigger, better, and accessible to all of Philadelphia every single summer. I can’t wait to see folks out on the Parkway enjoying everything The Oval has to offer for 2019.”
The Oval was a huge hit last year in the City of Brotherly Love, and this year the pop-up park has added even more to encourage all visitors to spend more time exploring, creating and making memories. The new additions this year include themed blocks with different activities and experiences. The “Make” block, located in front of the Barnes Foundation, will showcase music rooms, outdoor reading programs and shipping containers transformed into a public space for art and design; the “Hear” block in front of the Rodin Museum will feature unique art installations, stadium seating and a double-decker bus that will function as a music venue and snack stand; and the “Play” block, located in front of Von Colln Park, will offer a pop-up basketball court, badminton, tetherball and ping-pong.
The Oval will be decorated and made up of colorful sculptures that encourage interaction by the artist NDA, and a bright ground mural by Mural Arts Philadelphia artist Felix St. Fort titled “Vector 2.” To say this park is one-of-a-kind would be an understatement.
There will also be recognizable favorites returning to the seasonal oasis this year, including a variety of enticing food and beverage trucks in The Oval Beer Garden, the PORT-designed Ribbon Garden, the Mr. Mister spray garden and an oversized sandbox.
“Each year, The Oval offers new and innovative ways to experience the Parkway, the gateway to Fairmount Park,” said John Gattuso, board president of Fairmount Park Co. Conservancy, in a release. “We’re excited to see how residents and visitors alike enjoy The Oval this year, whether it’s enjoying a drink and a meal at the beer garden, live music along the Parkway, or a splash under the spray garden.”
The Oval will also offer a plethora of fun, interactive and enjoyable activities throughout its four-week run. Each day of the week will fall under a theme including “Wellness Wednesdays” (featuring yoga, kickboxing and more), “Arts & Culture Thursdays” (featuring dance parties, live performances and more), “Friday Food & Flicks” (featuring different film screenings), “Game Day Saturdays” (featuring a variety of pop-up games) and “Sunday Family Fundays” (featuring activities perfect for the whole family).
Opening day (this Friday) will feature live music at the “Hear” block, outdoor reading and music at the “Make” block and a screening of “Black Panther” at the center of the park at 9 p.m., where Radio One and UnityCommunity.com will be providing drummers and stilt walkers. The Oval also encourages Philadelphians to come out in African dress or attire that’s reflective of their culture for the screening this Friday.
The Oval opens this Friday, July 19, at 11 a.m. and will remain open until Aug. 18. For a list of hours for certain activities, a full list of programming and more information, visit theovalphl.org.