By Molly Atchison | Editor-in-Chief
Downtown Waco was lit up once again last night as locals and tourists mingled during First Friday. From 5 to 9 p.m., crowds were invited to travel the streets of downtown and explore all that local businesses had to offer. From food and drinks to shopping and art, there was plenty to enjoy.
Created in conjunction with the City of Waco and Anthem Waco, a local arts and development initiative based in Downtown Waco, First Friday is open and free to the public.
The mission statement on the First Friday Facebook page states that “First Friday Waco was created in order to help make Downtown Waco a destination instead of just one single place! We want to see downtown come alive with people and activity that the whole family can enjoy. We hope that with growing participation it will translate to further growth as a whole and more Wacoans will see downtown as a great place to spend time with friends and family every day of the week!”
Some of the vendors present at First Friday included Summer Ellis jewelry company; Paper Crown craft goods, Balcones distillery and much more. Small businesses such as Linen and Cake left their doors open later in hopes of drumming up business. “We sell home decor, and people get to know, women get to know more about home decor and then come back later to shop,” Linen and Cake owner Teresa Emry said. “We offer drinks and cookies, and just encourage people to come help and enjoy along with other small businesses that are open on First Fridays.”
However, while First Friday is a way for small businesses to get customers in the door, there are plenty of other opportunities for experiencing Waco during the event. Other attractions included free admission to the Dr. Pepper Museum and special events at Maker’s Edge Makerspace. Maker’s Edge opens its doors on First Fridays, offering cheap and easy learning opportunities for people who want to create. Last month, they offered water-gun painting during First Friday, and according to owner Melissa Pardun, the lines were out the door. “We actually had to make a couple extra groups … it was fantastic,” Pardun said. “We’re always trying something new, and something related to the season.
Pardun explained that the attendance on First Friday is almost exclusively non-members, and that’s why they try to keep the price down. “People are just looking for sort of a quick, do-it-with-my-friends, sort of activity, and its kind of a non-threatening way to get people in here, to come see what its about.”
For those who are looking to learn about all that Waco has to offer, or are simply looking for a sweet deal, check out First Friday on, well, the First Friday of every month and see just what’s happening in Waco.