Lindsey McLemore | Reporter
First Friday kicks off the fall semester today with specials at select downtown businesses. This month’s main draw for students is the discount available at many of the shops and stops with a student ID.
Carina Yebra, Baylor alumni and Operations Manager for Ellis Urban Group, Anthem Studios and First Friday, wants downtown Waco to be more than just a late-night destination.
“There are so many shops and businesses downtown that I wasn’t even aware of until my junior year, so we want Baylor students and the entire Waco community to be aware of everything that happens here because there actually are a lot of things going on,” Yebra said.
Yebra and Anthem Studios started First Friday as a way to encourage people to get more involved in the growing downtown culture.
“At first. [First Friday] was just some local artists and vendors meeting in the Praetorian Building on the first Friday of every month with a three-piece band playing in the elevator,” said Peter Ellis, owner of Anthem Studios.
Now the movement has turned into a coalition of more than 20 local businesses joining together to offer a little more to the community and hopefully get a little more back in return.
“Welcome to Waco from us to you,” Yebra said. “We want this month’s First Friday to introduce anyone new to Waco to what happens on the other side of I-35 and show them that it’s cool to love Waco.”
Game day is important to college culture, and that culture is important to Waco and First Friday.
“Students can come get coffee, find the perfect game day outfit, get a blowout [hair style] and eat before the game, then come celebrate all with First Friday businesses downtown,” Yebra said.
Downtown Waco is becoming less of a pit stop and more of a destination thanks to recent booms in business from fans of Fixer Upper visiting the area and more Baylor graduates choosing to stay and put down roots.
“First Friday is growing really fast, and we’re hoping to incorporate a lot more of the downtown area soon,” Yebra said.
Some of those plans involve block party-style events with local artists, musicians and food.
Students can take advantage of First Friday specials from 10 a.m. today to 2 a.m. Saturday. at any downtown business with green and white balloons out front.