Main Street’s First Friday events have come to a close for 2021 and have been lauded as being successful, drawing more participating vendors and attendance compared to last year. In its third year, First Friday began this year in April and ended with the Sept. 3 event. The two previous years, the event was held from March through October.
Main Street President Jason Nix said “great crowds” attended the events and the vendor list grew each month to the point of creating a waiting list for some of the First Fridays. “We had a good mix of vendors,” Nix said. “We may make a few changes next year and work to get more local vendors.”
With any outdoor event, the weather is always a factor. This year was no exception, according to Nix. Due to heavy rains on July 9, First Friday was cancelled early in the afternoon; however, some vendors began setting up as the weather began improving. “We had relatively good weather except in July when we prematurely cancelled.” Nix said. “We learned from that and know what to do next year. When an event is planned ‘rain or shine’, it is what it is.”
Local merchants were encouraged to stay open from 5-7 p.m. during First Fridays.
Tina Towry Osgood, owner of Ivy Wreath, said these events are a great benefit to the community. “Main Street works hard to promote our historic square. It’s a win-win for the street vendors as well as for the merchants, restaurants and the theater.”
Anna Phillips Designs, located at 111 Main Ave. North, just off the square, took advantage of the extended hours to keep her shop open for First Fridays even on those rainy days. First-time shoppers and repeat customers veered north off the square to Anna Phillips Designs and to enjoy dinner at Cornbread’s Kitchen.
Rains created a soggy start for the Slawburger Festival rescheduled from April to Aug. 21 due to COVID-19. Once the rain began to subside around 1 p.m., the day closed on a positive note.
“Between Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce, we try to have monthly events,” said Nix. “We are excited to announce the return of Spirits with the Spirits coming to downtown on Thursday, Oct. 21.”
Spirits with the Spirits is a walking tour with spooky stories presented by participating Main Street merchants who will serve wine and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets will be available online beginning Oct. 1.
The 29th annual Host of Christ Past, sponsored by the Fayetteville-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, Fayetteville Main Street, the local business community and volunteers, will be held Nov. 12-13. The Christmas-themed street festival will be centered around historic downtown.
January 2022 brings the highly anticipated Masquerade Party with a roaring 20s theme.