Celebrating First Friday’s 20th Anniversary
First Friday celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer and plans are underway to celebrate with the community. The arts event has been credited with helping to revive Williamsport’s downtown and foster local artists. “This open access to the arts and the energy this event brought to our downtown reinvigorated the city center and our sense of community. Restaurants and businesses took root in formerly vacant spaces because entrepreneurs could see that people were interested in spending time downtown and supporting local businesses,” said Shanin Dougherty, co-chair of the First Friday committee that is a Lycoming Arts (which is celebrating their 60th anniversary) initiative.
There are innumerable ways to celebrate First Friday’s anniversary but we have narrowed it down to the five below.
1. Check out the new food trucks and food vendors. “The culinary aspect of the arts event has always been crucial to its organizers. Dougherty said, “Food is often the gateway to exploring a culture or region, so we are proud to feature culinary artists at First Friday events to bring the community together through the experience of food.”
2. Children can celebrate the event’s milestone by creating their own works of art. “Kids can go to the Lycoming Arts ‘Art Cart’ for arts and crafts projects. In addition, we are hoping that the Kiwanis Club will be able to have the Kids First Friday event during our August event. This will be located in the parking lot between Woodlands Bank and The Bullfrog Brewery. We will have the Bruster’s Ice Cream truck for kids and kids-at-heart,” said Dougherty.
3. Fans of live music will have a range of acts to choose from. Dougherty said, “Our tentative list of musicians includes The Uptown Music Collective’s student performers, The Strolling Strings, Sean Farley Open Mic and Autumn Winds Sax Quartet to name a few.”
4. The official 20th anniversary celebration will be held Friday, August 6 and is open to the public. “We will close 4th Street to traffic from Market St. to Hepburn St. and we close Pine St. from Edwin St. to 4th St. for vendors and music performances,” said Dougherty. The revered local band Clyde Frog will be the main act for the celebration.
5. Sell your art! What a better way to celebrate than by diving into the event with your own creations. Whether you sell acrylic paintings or make dried flower arrangements, a broad spectrum of art is welcomed. “It’s $10 to set up a table. We have a form on our website that folks should complete,” said Dougherty. Visit http://www.lycomingarts.org to find the form. Also check the website for updates about additional anniversary events or any cancellations.