With the winter season rapidly approaching, Elizabethtown College is undergoing a subtle shift. Students and staff scurry to the warmth of buildings. The campus becomes quiet. The desire to leave one’s room diminishes. When the call to hibernate wanes, students may be at a loss for where to find entertainment after the temperature drops. First Fridays, a year-round cultural staple, add something special to the dreary winter months.
To those in the know, the first Friday of every month is a time of art and entertainment in many local communities. The historical city of York, Pa. is no exception, providing a fresh and exciting atmosphere to its downtown area. At the beginning of each month, from 5 to 9 p.m., the area bustles with people enjoying gallery shows, live music and sales at some of the many locally owned businesses. Horse and buggy rides are a popular attraction, as well as dinner specials at many of the restaurants, cafes or taverns.
There is also the monthly Jazz in the City show at the Strand-Capitol, one of York’s oldest music and performance venues. This historic hall is large and opulent, classically decorated in a lavish baroque style. The site hosts theatrical performances, comedians, concerts and film events during the year that are also worth a look. Jazz in the City is free to students with a valid ID, a great deal for all those who enjoy great music.
First Fridays are best known for the deals and special events held by shops around York. Throughout the evenings on both the Nov. 4 and Dec. 2 First Fridays, visitors can collect stamps on their very own Holiday Passports while experiencing the fantastic range of events. There are plenty of activities this November to satisfy every taste. If you want to eat, Sam and Tony’s Restaurant offers half price desserts for First Friday participants, Bair’s Fried Chicken will feature live music and the Park Street Pantry will offer free samples of hot apple cider and their homemade dishes.
If holiday shopping is the theme of the night, Beaver St. is lined with shops specializing in unique and often handmade gifts. Sunrise Soap Company, a large, eclectic shop which sells organic, artisan soaps, as well as arts and crafts, will unveil their line of winter-scented bath products. Sweet Melissa’s Dream, run by a talented local artist, will provide a free, one-of-a-kind gift with purchase. Kinman’s, a fantastic stop for foodies and Vera Bradley fans alike, will premiere new products for the holidays.
Should you want to get adventurous this upcoming First Friday, Lotus Moon Yoga has a yoga dance class from 6:00 to 7:15 p.m. and an art exhibit. The Watchmaker’s Daughter, a jewelry boutique, will feature photography and a jewelry-making demonstration with wine and cheese for of-age guests. Granfalloons Tavern gives 10 percent off to First Friday goers as they enjoy a live performance by Rhyne McCormick on acoustic guitar.
Clearly, First Fridays are something special. The monthly festival literally revitalizes York’s historic city center. In these hard economic times, small, artistic businesses are hit-hard, and First Fridays introduce new customers into the densely-packed cultural center of downtown York.
So bundle up, grab a group of friends and experience your first First Friday.