Clark Park

Clark ParkUCD/Mark Garvin

WHAT: This nine-acre green space is located in the heart of University City, and is bordered by Baltimore Avenue on the north, Woodland Avenue to the south, 43rd Street to the east and 45th on the west. The park, established in 1895, today boasts more than 300 trees.

AN OASIS: On a summer’s day, you’ll find plenty of kids scrambling over the playground equipment, people lounging or casually strumming guitars, dogs cavorting in the “bowl” and maybe even an intense volleyball match. There are plenty of benches for rest and respite—and sunny expanses perfect for a blanket and book.

TO MARKET: One of the most popular features of Clark Park is the long-standing Farmer’s Market, held along the east side of the park. Run through the University City District and the Food Trust, the market features home-baked Amish goods, cut and potted flowers and plants and a wide variety of heirloom and organic in-season fruits and vegetables. Vendors also sell locally grown meats, cheese and eggs. The market runs year-round on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May through Thanksgiving (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. December through April) and, beginning in June, on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

FOR SALE: Each month, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement runs a flea market adjacent to the Farmer’s Market, where the discerning shopper can purchase vintage and gently used clothing, records and CDs, jewelry, candles and other assorted knick-knacks. This summer, stop by anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 14, July 12 or Aug. 9.

FAIR DAYS: Clark Park is home to numerous other seasonal fairs and concerts, including the Annual Spruce Hill Community Association May Fair on May 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Clark Park Music and Arts Fest on June 21 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sept. 20 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

LIKE IT OR NOT: The park also boasts its very own volunteer theater company—Shakespeare in Clark Park, which has presented free, outdoor productions each summer since 2005. This year, the company is performing The Bard’s comedy, “As You Like It” from July 30 to Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. in the bowl section of the park, located at 45th and Chester. The company has performed “Romeo and Juliet” and “Twelfth Night” in years past and performances have drawn more than 2,000 people on summer nights.

MAKE FRIENDS: Since 1973, the Friends of Clark Park have worked to maintain University City’s largest green space. Members advise city officials on the park’s needs, work with the Department of Recreation to improve maintenance and plan physical improvements, sponsor park events and programs and organize volunteer work days—from tree-plantings to park clean-ups. One is coming up on May 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Memberships run $20 to $500. To join or pitch in with park clean-ups, contact the group at 215-552-8186 or visit their website: www.clarkpark.info/.

Originally published on May 8, 2008