(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The Shops on the Hill Artisan Flea Market begins its 2022 season this weekend.

The monthly event is held on the last Sunday of each month from May through September in Erie’s Historical Federal Hill Area. For this month, that’s Sunday, May 29. The market will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Artisan vendors — including woodworking, pottery, painting, ceramics, acrylics, soaps, bath and body products and Macrame — will set up shop along Peach Street between 26th and 25th Streets. It’s the event’s fifth year (It would be six years, if not for a year off when the COVID-19 pandemic began). In 2021, the flea market had more than 50 vendors and more than 1,200 attendees. This year, it’s starting the season with 40 vendors, and an additional dozen are scheduled to join as the season progresses.

“What’s nice this year is we’ve gone from seeking out vendors and performers to now finally they’re hearing about success from other vendors who are saying, ‘Don’t discount them… it’s actually grown and is quite large,'” said Gisele Littrell, president of Erie Hill District Collaborative and owner of Tipsy Bean Cafe. “It’s a great place for us to be now that people and artists are seeking us out.”

The family-friendly and pet-friendly event aims to bring new people to the neighborhood who might not otherwise venture that way, and to help bolster the businesses that are already there.

“The main goal of the flea market is to improve the facade, safety and enjoyment of consumers coming into the district, and to beautify an economically depressed neighborhood. But we’re also allowing businesses to come in for free,” Littrell said. “Right now for new businesses, it’s hard to get started. Ultimately we’re doing this in hopes that we can build up individual new small businesses, and maybe someday they’ll own a storefront in the Hill.”

The free event also aims to connect people with each other. Activities and games offered during the event are a way to get people to interact. There will be food trucks and live entertainment. A smaller stage means more intimate performances.

“Many people are not aware there are so many resources available in our town. This is a way for people to come together and engage with each other,” she said. “Throughout the season, there will be other performances that highlight the ethnic and cultural diversity in Erie that people don’t get to see… there will also be dancers and Yoga performances — many different types of performances that we’re nailing down for the rest of the season.”

In addition to on-street parking, drivers can park in the lot at the Tipsy Bean Cafe, Bay City OrthoCare and Northwest Bank. For additional information, visit the Shops on the Hill website. Shops on the Hill also can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

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“There’s always a great surge of energy from the community for the kickoff event. Not a lot happens in the month of May downtown, so it’s great that as a corridor entrance of downtown we get to start the season,” Littrell said.