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Temps are no longer cracking 90, leaves are starting to flutter and pumpkin spice lattes are being alternately vilified and defended on social media, but here’s the real sign summer has disappeared: Spruce Street Harbor Park is closing for the season.

The past couple weeks brought pumpkin carving to the beer garden Credit: Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn

At 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, the Columbus Boulevard waterfront pop-up — named one of the world’s best “urban beaches” by Jetsetter.com — will disappear until next spring.

“The summer flew by,” said SSHP general manager Dave Moore. “I can’t believe it was 5 months ago that you were filming the park set up.”

https://youtu.be/EEhej1TjcsE” caption=”Timelapse by Danya Henninger” /]

Although big changes are coming soon to the area, thanks to the finally-in-motion plan to cap I-95 and connect the city grid to the river, there’s little doubt the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation will find a way to bring back SSHP in 2018. Its fourth year was another resounding success.

Pumpkins on the SSHP ‘boardwalk’ Credit: Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn

“Spruce Street Harbor Park was busier than last season for our large events,” Moore told Billy Penn. Those included:

  • two new fireworks shows with concerts, one on Memorial Day weekend and one Labor Day weekend
  • the official Philly Beer Week beer garden
  • the Univestival, a three-day arts and music fest sponsored by Univest Corporation
  • the Thursday night Waterfront Sessions free concert series
Friday afternoon was one of the last shorts day of the year Credit: Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn

A note for next season if you want to avoid the crowds (or catch them): SSHP was busiest from the end of June through early July, Moore said. Part of the reason was probably the launch of the Blue Cross RiverRink Midway, which was tricked out this year with tons of new arcade games and a 60-foot actual ferris wheel.

https://youtu.be/IGqyiqwS3mM” caption=”Video by Jordan Gunselman and Danya Henninger” /]

“We saw a lot of foot traffic between the two parks,” said Moore, who is tasked with overseeing both of them. “People of all ages enjoyed the carnival games and prizes; I have never seen oversized stuffed animals.”

The big hit in the arcade this year was Space Invaders, which you could play on a gigantic 8-foot-tall screen.

No more Port FedNuts till 2018 Credit: Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn

The surprise hot food item was the southern fried pierogies, a collab between Jose Garces and Mrs. T’s (yeah, they were pretty great — and you can still buy them at the supermarket and make your own).

On its last day, SSHP is running a deal on beer: $5 a pint for locally-brewed Victory Summer Love, Troegs Crimson IPA and Yards Lazy Hammock (a park exclusive). After that, it’s time for winter slumber.

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Danya Henninger

Danya Henninger is director of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the...