Have you ever been to a block party? You know the kind of party where everyone gets together and there’s food and great conversation? Sometimes someone will even bring out his guitar and serenade everyone. It’s a chance to can catch up with people you only see maybe twice a year. What if an entire city did that? Well, the truth is that these city block parties have been going on since around 1987. Over 40 cities across America, from Anchorage to York, celebrate what’s called the First Friday in one form or another, whether it’s on a Thursday or a Saturday. It’s a great opportunity to become familiar with your local merchants, connect with your community, and even experience a city you are unfamiliar with.
Bring Out the Wine, Bring In the Customers
In many cities known for their incredible vineyards, First Fridays often mean that local shops will offer samples from the neighboring wineries. This is a great chance for you to get a free taste of the wines in your area while stopping in to take a look at what local vendors have to offer. Usually, on these special evenings, the merchants will stay open late to attract new patrons and proudly participate in the event. Often, you can find other things like
- Crackers and cheeses from local wineries
- Baked goods or snacks from local restaurants
- Special event sales in the store
- Upcoming artist debuting their work
Take the Talent To The Streets
One amazing characteristic of these fun occasions is the talent you meet on each street corner as you tour the shops. Young violinists regale passersby with their enchanting melodies and talented vocalists team up with musicians to fill the evening air with their beautiful voices. Also, you may stumble upon local food trucks offering their wares so you can grab a delicious bite as you continue your unguided tour of the city. Don’t forget to stop by the crowded pub to take in the last quarter of the game or listen to a live band.
Become A Local Tourist
If you find yourself wanting to venture beyond your city and learn of the community culture elsewhere, there’s no better way than to blend in with the locals at one of these First Fridays. Find car rentals and a flight, make a packing list, and establish yourself for the weekend at a bed and breakfast in a city you have longed to be a part of. You can get your wish for the day and maybe even start a new tradition. It’s also a wonderful way to create your own passport book of cities you have visited and encountered.
So venture out during the season of First Fridays, or Third Thursdays, or whatever your local or favorite commerce calls them and experience the heart of your city in a very personal way. Find new shops you love, tastes you crave, and people you admire. Perhaps you even have something you want to share during this event. Network, share, and experience all these cities have to offer.