First Friday: a night to remember

Local monthly event offers students an exciting community activity

In Canton, the first Friday of every month is dedicated to the Canton Arts District. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., each “First Friday” features themed music, performances and visual art events as well as local shops and other activities for both children and adults.
“First Friday started in July 2007 to promote the few art galleries and studios in the newly formed Canton Arts District,” said Tricia Ostertag, First Friday coordinator.
According to Ostertag, since then the number of exhibits, events and shops have increased, as well as the numbers of those in attendance.
“[In the] first month we estimated that 100 people attended. We have reached our highest attendance this summer with almost 10,000 people per month,” said Ostertag.
This increase has helped support local art galleries, shops and restaurants in downtown Canton. First Friday also helps to bring people together in a day and night of fun.
“There are different themes each month to help change up some of the programming,” said Ostertag.

3rd street downtown Canton at First Friday (photo courtesy of Mariah Zachardy)
3rd street downtown Canton at First Friday (photo courtesy of Mariah Zachardy)

In changing the themes each month, attendees get to experience a variety of different events and activities, encouraging people to come out and see what is new. The theme for October is “Glow Night,” where glow necklaces will be handed out, and attendees will have the opportunity to have their faces painted with glow paint.
While the November through April months offer a more quiet atmosphere, May through October features more tents for children’s activities, food, art and handmade goods. January’s First Friday specifically offers an ice carving festival.
“It’s fun! There’s lots of cool shopping and great food. [There’s] lots to do and lots to see. We’re just a few miles down Cleveland Avenue! It’s fun, easy, and exciting. So come join us!” said Ostertag.
First Fridays are open to the public, and anyone in the community is encouraged to attend. Many Malone students make an effort to be a part of the fun.
“First Friday gives off a very authentic atmosphere and kind of shows what Canton is all about, which is supporting local artists and small businesses. It’s a lot of fun and something I look forward to every month,” said Rebekah Walker, junior social work major.
Similarly, Kyle Bartzsch, senior bible and theology major, values the monthly celebration’s communal efforts to support and appreciate businesses in the Canton community.
“I like seeing all of the local businesses support Canton artists. I think the arts are really important and the idea of a whole city full of locally owned businesses displaying artist’s work is really cool,” said Bartzsch. “You can really see the sense of community and the support that people have for each other in Canton.”
Join the fun Oct. 7 at First Friday’s “Glow Night”. For a complete list of First Friday theme nights, visit http://cantonartsdistrict.com/firstfriday/.

 

Tara Hilverding is a staff writer for The Aviso

Rachel Pelletier is the copy editor for The Aviso

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