By Ariana Manos
Volume 67, No. 1 – click to see full issue here
The start of a new semester is filled with opportunities to explore! Canton offers many unique experiences and puts on events monthly. First Friday, a downtown celebration that happens on the first Friday of each month from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., is one of those exciting events.
This upcoming Friday, Oct. 1, many will be heading to the Downtown Canton Arts District at 324 Cleveland Ave. There is a theme for each month, and this First Friday is no different. In celebration of Halloween, the month of October will bring a spooky-themed night, encouraging those in attendance to dress in costumes to get into the spirit of the season.
Themes for November and December will respectively be “Giving Thanks” and “Shop Small.” Groups of friends looking for a fun outing are sure to enjoy exploring downtown during these upcoming events.
For college students on a budget, there is ample free parking available in Downtown Canton. During the week, metered street parking is free to the public after 4 p.m. Additionally, in the past there have been free samples passed out during First Friday by local vendors; however, this may have stopped due to COVID-19.
“[My favorite part of First Friday is] sampling all the different foods [and] seeing a lot of people that I know. I can see people I haven’t seen in a while,” Gina Hess, Canton resident and frequent First Friday attendee, said. “Listening to the different genres of music was really cool too.”
“I also like the shops down[town],” Hess said. “I bought a little plate that is sitting up in my living room. Going through the shops and finding bargains is always nice.”
First Friday promotes small businesses, giving them the opportunity to showcase their many handcrafted goods and artwork. Depending on the month, local musicians or traveling food trucks will also be available at the events.
Through its many successful events, First Friday celebrations have transformed into a steady tradition that residents flock to the heart of Canton to experience.
“A combination of a gallery hop and a street festival, First Friday brings the art enthusiasts, fun-seeking families and party-goers together to support Downtown Canton,” the First Friday Facebook page says. “November-April (except January) the party moves indoors with a wide range of activities, art and music.”
There are a wide variety of food options available during First Friday and vendors have excellently catered to those with food allergies in the past.
There are many restaurant choices that are unique to Downtown Canton that would perfectly complete a local night out. One recommended option from Hess is Basil Asian Bistro. The flavors of Asian, Chinese and Pacific foods are combined to make something unique only offered in this setting. Basil Asian Bistro is located across the street from the Canton Palace Theatre at 585 Market Ave. N.
“I like the atmosphere, and the building is very cool,” Hess said. “They have a lot of very neat artwork on the walls. … They also have tables outside, which is also a nice option.”
“I love [their] sushi, that is my favorite to order there,” Hess said. “I have tried almost all the sushi [options] and they are all delicious. Whenever there is a special roll I try it and [have found that] they are all amazing.”
Basil Asian Bistro’s careful attention to utilizing only fresh ingredients benefits all their dishes immensely, but the sushi’s freshness is particularly notable, according to Hess. Other dishes recommended by staff are spicy wontons (ask to add an egg for an extra layer of deliciousness), and some find their favorite finish to the meal is exotic coconut or avocado ice cream.
“[Basil Asian Bistro] is very eloquent yet friendly and welcoming,” Brenden W., a current employee at Basil Asian Bistro, said. “[The food is] very exciting, very fresh, and Asian-based. Vietnamese pho is a staple dish; very good and very popular.”
For more information concerning Basil Asian Bistro, visit basilasianrestaurant.com. For more information concerning First Friday themes, visit Canton’s official website at discoverdowntowncanton.com. Recent updates and details concerning upcoming local events can be found on Facebook under the official First Friday page for Canton.