Rock ‘n Swap returns to Queen Street
Punks and headbangers unite – Rock ‘n Swap is back.
The flea market show with attitude returns to downtown Niagara Falls on Saturday after a long hiatus and vendors all along Queen Street will be participating.
Organizer Gillian Underhill, who started the exchange in 2015, wasn’t sure when – or if – it would return a day after last July’s scaled-down deal that only allowed 50 people.
“When people would ask me, I was like, oh my God, I don’t even know if this will ever happen again,” she says. “There were times when I thought it was just unachievable.
“But after six years now, it’s become like family. People got married and had babies. I have friends from Toronto (Saturday) who are now two and three, none of us have even seen!
The city’s tight-knit metal / punk scene made the first Rock ‘n Swap an instant hit, and the following year the show moved outside. The city even blocked off part of Queen Street to accommodate all the vendors.
But as the show returns bigger than ever on Saturday, Underhill says the street will remain open this time around.
“Frankly, from what I see, it seems that when they close the streets, it is to the detriment of businesses. I do this to bring them business.
The fair brings together artists, vendors and musicians to sell or trade their wares, whether it’s clothing, vintage albums or jewelry. Underhill, an avid metalworker, started the show to unite the community and bring their other talents to the table.
“I’ve always kind of sown on the side,” she says. “I sewn by hand and made things for friends. Being punk rock and listening to metal, many men in the same position are not great seamstresses!
“It has to be a network with artists, musicians, geeks and whatever other outcasts you can name. We are very inclusive.
Camp Cataract (4317 Queen Street) will be the home port of the show. Niagara Falls singer Ashlee Standish will perform on the Terrace from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
After six years, Underhill thinks it’s the uniqueness of Rock ‘n Swap that is bringing people back. You will find things here that you will not find in stores or other art exhibitions.
“We tend to stay away from Scentsy and Tupperware and those kinds of names that pop up in other markets,” she says. “I’m trying to make room for something that’s not in a regular church sale.”
Rock ‘n Swap operates from noon to 4 p.m. in downtown Niagara Falls.