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Urban-Style Flea Market Pop Up Ave Draws Crowds to Downtown State College

by on April 29, 2017 5:41 PM

A brief rainstorm couldn't dampen Pop Up Ave's return to downtown State College on Saturday.

The urban-style flea market was back at the South Garner Street parking lot for a second go-round after a successful debut last September. This time it was a bigger affair -- with nearly 60 vendors, up from 40 last time -- and offered opportunities for crowds to hang around and spend the afternoon.

Vendors from the local area and across the state were invited to the curated flea market, offering a variety of mostly hand-crafted wares such as home decor, clothing, jewelry, pottery, bath items and vintage finds.

Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks offered a beer garden and My My Chicken, Doan's Bones and The Funky Freezer had food for sale. Activities for kids also were available, such as at a booth hosted by The Makery.

"The day’s been going really great," said Brad Groznik, who co-founded and organizes the event with his wife, Andrea, "We’re using the whole parking lot so it feels twice as big. This time we have food and a beer garden. A lot of people are hanging out a lot longer. Last time people were breezing through, but now people are hanging out, having a drink, having pizza. A lot of kids. It’s bringing out a good mix of everybody. It’s students and it’s also young families."

Even as rain passed through, the crowd didn't appear to diminish, and vendors said attendance had been strong throughout the day.

State College's Dan Baxter, owner of Baxterbots, was among those vendors. He makes robots out of vintage items, usually from the 1950s, and has been creating that art for about five years. He heard about Pop Up Ave and reached out to get involved.

"It’s been great, really great," he said. "There have been big crowds, a lot of people and a lot of interest. For State College it’s really important. The arts community, the local community, it's really important to foster and have an arena for that."

Shippensburg's Deanna Dorangrichia, owner of Dorangrichia Ceramics, was invited to participate in Pop Up Ave. She has been working with ceramics for years, but turned it into a full-time effort in the last year. Her display featured her functional pottery -- items like bowls, mugs and vases that can be used everyday -- which she creates by hand using food-safe, handmade glazes.

Dorangrichia said she was happy to bring her work to State College.

"I was excited to join the local vendors and get my product out here," she said. "It’s been wonderful. It’s a great venue and great crowds have been coming out, and there are really strong vendors with good work."

The Grozniks brought the idea for Pop Up Ave with them when they returned to the area after living in New York for several years. Curated flea markets were a favorite experience there and they believed the idea would translate well to the Centre Region.

"The first one was a proof of concept," Brad Groznik said. "We had to prove we could pull it off. We said if the community came out and supported us we would do it again. We felt the community came out last time and supported us and this time they came out in droves."

Pop Up Ave is scheduled to return two more times this year -- on Sept. 23 and Dec. 9. Groznik said they expect to maintain the size at around 60 vendors for the remainder of the year.

"I think we’ll probably keep the same kind of thing going the rest of this year and revisit it next year," he said. "This seems to work really well, the number of vendors and things like that. The feel will probably stay the same this year and then we’ll think about it next year."

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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