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September 06, 2023

A giant IKEA shopping bag will be installed in Philly this weekend; here's why

The big blue spectacle is part of the CollegeFest block party on Saturday, where university students can receive discounts and giveaways from the home goods store

Festivals Ikea
ikea bag collegefest Provided Image/Factory PR

A 19-foot inflatable IKEA shopping bag, like the one seen above, will stand tall in Aviator Park this Saturday as part of the CollegeFest block party.

UPDATE 9/9/23: IKEA has announced that the Big Blue Bag will no longer be on-site for Philly's CollegeFest block party. The company issued the following statement:

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Big Blue Bag sculpture will no longer be present at CollegeFest tomorrow. We are excited to be a part of the block party and encourage students to visit the IKEA tent for product giveaways and promotions."

Shoppers at the Swedish furniture superstore IKEA have likely seen a plethora of the company's blue "Frakta" shopping bags — reusable totes perfect for holding items from subsequent grocery store hauls, overnight trips or college move-in days. 

Philadelphians are in for quite a sight this weekend when a 19-foot-tall inflatable version of the shopping bag will be placed in Aviator Park, at 20th and Race streets. IKEA's "Big Blue Bag" is part of the CollegeFest block party on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MORE: Reclectic, a new shop at Philadelphia Mills, sells discounted products from Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters

Along with the giant installation's imposing presence, IKEA will offer giveaways and promotions at the event. College students can also enter to win $500 for IKEA shopping by posting a photo with the Frakta sculpture on social media.

The block party kicks off this weekend's CollegeFest, hosted by the nonprofit Campus Philly to welcome students back to school. On Saturday, Sept. 9 and Sunday, Sept. 10, college students can visit participating Philly museums and ride SEPTA for free and enter to win Phillies and Flyers tickets. The Frakta installation is part of the brand's Giving Bag campaign.

IKEA, which has its North American headquarters in Conshohocken, has pledged $2.2 billion to grow across the U.S., the largest investment in its four decades in the country. It plans to open eight new stores and 900 new pickup locations where customers can collect their online purchases.

Following these recent developments, an oversized version of IKEA's iconic blue bag has been traveling the country this summer.

ikea bag nycProvided Image/Factory PR

A 19-foot-tall IKEA Frakta shopping bag will be installed at the intersection of 20th and Race streets this weekend as part of the CollegeFest block party. Above, the giant inflatable sculpture in New York City.

The Big Blue Bag has landed in New York City, Chicago and Houston, bringing along promotions and augmented reality experiences. Last month, it made an appearance at a University of Maryland festival.

The Frakta — which means "carry" in Swedish — originated in 1980s Stockholm, when the IKEA team noticed customers were having trouble carrying smaller goods around the store.

Originally, the bag was only available in bright yellow. The well-known blue bags, which are now synonymous with the store itself, came about when IKEA staff needed a way to differentiate bags that belonged to the store from bags that customers brought in themselves. Through the decades, Frakta bags have inspired luxury designers and DIY artists and have been used for everything from carrying puppies to hauling laundry.

This weekend, the shopping bag's gargantuan relative will be used as a unique Instagram background and a beacon of discounted dorm goods for eager Philadelphia college students.

CollegeFest Block Party

Saturday, Sept. 9
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Free
Race Street between 19th and 20th streets, Philadelphia, PA

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