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City Flea introduces Cincinnati to urban flea market culture

While living in New York, Cincinnati natives, Nick and Lindsay Dewald enjoyed spending the better part of their Saturdays at Brooklyn Flea, an urban flea market. According to Nick, since it was within walking distance, it was just “something you did in the neighborhood,” and whatever you needed to do—“eat, buy a gift, card, something for the house, or get a cup of coffee”—you could do it at Brooklyn Flea.

When they returned to Cincinnati eight months ago, the couple noticed a cultural boom happening among the city’s creative class. Inspired, Nick and Lindsay started The City Flea to expose the city to an urban flea market culture.

“Six years ago, it didn’t seem like [Cincinnati] was thriving the way it is now,” says Lindsay, who resides in Prospect Hill. “When we came back, we said, ‘We’ve got to bring that flea market culture to Cincinnati because there are definitely vendors and patrons who will embrace us.’”

At City Flea, patrons can eat a meal from one of the many food vendors in attendance, or peruse through ceramic goods, handmade furniture, jewelry, vintage clothing and other merchandise from local entrepreneurs and artisans.

City Flea’s location at Vine Street and Central Parkway

“We want people to know it could be a well thought out, well curated sort of market that showcases local artists and collectors,” says Lindsay. “There’s not going to be much rummaging through to get to the good stuff. The good stuff, you’re gonna see as soon as you walk in.”

This Saturday, June 4, City Flea will be located in the parking lot in front of the Cincinnatus mural at Vine Street and Central Parkway [map]. “We like that it’s on the border of Central Parkway and downtown—and people coming from outside of the city, I think, will be more comfortable with the fact that it is downtown…of course, we want to break that stereotype that Over-the-Rhine is scary, so we thought this would be a good location to do that,” says Lindsay.

The neighborhood feel of Brooklyn Flea is what Nick says he and his wife were hoping to recreate for the people that live in the community. “We’re hoping that for the people that live in the area, it can be a part of their weekend,” says Nick, mentioning that it could be a destination stop on the way to brunch or Findlay Market. He also hopes that the monthly event (which will return July 9, August 6 and September 3) will eventually happen every weekend.

Jessica Rilling, owner of bakery, Jessicakes, says she looks forward to City Flea’s melting pot of people, ideas, and goods. “As a designer, self-taught baker, business owner, and a former urban planning student, I felt like the goals of the market were something I could really stand behind,” says Rilling. “It just seemed natural to get involved with bringing that here to Cincinnati.”

Among City Flea’s list of sponsors are downtown and Over-the-Rhine businesses Arnold’s Bar and Grill, A-Line Magazine, Atomic Number 10, Yelp! Cincinnati, Cincinnati Fringe Fest, The Famous Neon’s Unplugged, Know Theatre, Architreks, Park & Vine and The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati.

Accessible to several Metro bus routes, The City Flea is open from 11am to 5pm in the Cincinnatus mural parking lot at Vine Street and Central Parkway, and is free. No alcohol or outside food is permitted. For more information on parking and directions, visit City Flea’s website or find them on Facebook.