A look back at Spruce Street Harbor Park 2017

The waterfront pop-up hosted two new fireworks shows and more in a strong fourth season.

Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn

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

The past couple weeks brought pumpkin carving to the beer garden

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.”

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'

Pumpkins on the SSHP 'boardwalk'

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

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.

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

No more Port FedNuts till 2018

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.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn story

Seems you’re the kind of person who really digs in. Want more? Sign up for our free morning newsletter, the easy way to stay on top of Philly news.

Thanks for reading Billy Penn

Like the story above, everything we publish is powered by our members. If you enjoy reading, join today: Just $5/month makes more difference than you’d think.

Thanks for reading! We need you.

Reader donations power our newsroom. If Billy Penn helps you feel more connected to Philly, we’d love to count you as a member. Will you join us?

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our newsroom. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Member support powers our newsroom.

Know someone else who might like our work? Invite them to sign up for our free morning newsletter.