The Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation recently announced they will host the fifth summer of The Oval with expanded programming entitled, The Oval+ presented by PNC. Featuring an expanded footprint and unique installations, The Oval+ will include the ever-popular movie and music nights, food trucks, beer garden, and family-friendly activities.
“We are excited about furthering the dialogue this year at the Oval of what the Parkway can one day become,” said Rick Magder, executive director of Fairmount Park Conservancy. “This one-of-a-kind pop-up park will continue to set the tone for the neighborhood and the institutions of what a dynamic public space the Parkway can become. We thank all of our partners and sponsors for making this year’s effort possible again.”
The organizing partners have engaged a cutting-edge design firm, PORT Urbanism of Philadelphia and Chicago, to develop an installation that will inspire people to envision future, potential uses for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway beyond Eakins Oval which encompasses eight acres of public space known as Philadelphia's own “Avenue des Champs-Élysées.”
Three immersive open-air “rooms” explore these current and future aspects of the Parkway and its open spaces. One “room” invites visitors to explore the lost and hidden Fairmount Park. Another celebrates the familiar and not-so-familiar aspects of Philadelphia culture and recreation. And the third space, centered on a giant ground mural of the city, invites locals and visitors to literally draw onto the city what they imagine their Parkway to be.
The new ground mural, designed by PORT Urbanism and painted by Mural Arts Philadelphia, will complement the installations at Eakins Oval. At night, the installations – some extending to 24 feet in height – will be illuminated from within, creating a glowing effect. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy, initially revealed the City of Philadelphia's new “Park on the Parkway” in July 2013.
“The Oval will be both fun and thought-provoking this year,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. “As always, we expect people of all ages to come out to eat, drink and play, but we also want to hear from our citizens how they imagine taking advantage of the open space along the Parkway.”
Inspiration for this year’s design came from a 2013 study performed by PennPraxis, on the heels of the Parkway’s 100th Anniversary, recommending “more park, less way” along this important thoroughfare. Presented by PNC and supported by funding from ArtPlace America, The Oval+ will include a dynamic maze that will wind through the trees and a stage to accommodate a changing schedule of public events large and small.
The Oval+ will run from July 20 through August 20, Wednesdays through Sundays.
The Oval+ highlights include:
- The Oval Beer Garden serving hot food, craft brews, wine, and cocktails
- Wellness Wednesdays with power yoga classes by Yoga Habit and kickboxing from CKO
- Arts & Culture Thursdays featuring hip-hop classes and DJ dance parties
- Food & Flicks Fridays showing free popular movies at dusk
- Game Day Saturdays presenting Quizzo and music jam sessions in the Beer garden
- Family Fun Sundays with Let’s Rock Recess, a kids’ DJ dance party in the Beer Garden
- Games like mini-golf, cornhole, ping-pong, and giant chess and checkers