Friday nights may be reserved for some as a night to go out on the town, but why wait until later in the evening to do so?
Third Friday Wilkes-Barre is giving folks an opportunity to do just that, to stroll about the downtown area and enjoy all that local artists and businesses have to offer.
The name of the event may sound familiar to some, and there's a reason for it: it's something that once was, now back again.
“Wilkes-Barre had a Third Friday, and it kind of dwindled almost to nothing,” Chris Kelly said. “About six months ago, a group of us got together and said, 'Let's revitalize it.'”
Kelly is one of the members of the committee of volunteers who have banded together to bring Third Friday back. It originally began in 2006 under the direction of Kathleen Godwin of Arts YOUniverse. The committee, which includes Don Armstrong of the Wyoming Valley Art League, decided to pump life back into the event after Godwin's departure from the area.
“As a person that enjoyed the walk, and a member of the Wyoming Valley Art League board of directors, I felt this was a downtown event that should not disappear,” Armstrong said. “I asked Kathleen if I would be stepping on toes if I were to try to revive it, to which she replied, 'It's yours.'”
Kelly said the relaunch looks promising so far, with 16 venues signed on to be a part of the initial event. Those venues, which will all display artwork by local talents, include Aura Om, Art Scene Gallery, Barnes and Noble College Bookseller, Bottlenecks, the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, King's College, Marquis Art and Frame, the Osterhout Free Library, Outrageous, Prana Yoga, Shambala, the Wyoming Valley Art League, and the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA. A trolley will provide free shuttle service to selected venues.
One of the best parts about Third Friday, Kelly said, is that it's a family-friendly affair.
“You can bring the kids and take your time, choosing where you want to go and what you want to see.”
It's also an event that helps area businesses.
“We want to help the downtown, help people come down here and then stay,” Kelly said.
The timing for the revival couldn't be more perfect, with the launch happening the same night RiverFest kicks off, an event that brings many to the downtown area.
The next Third Friday dates will be July 19 and Aug. 16. Kelly is excited to see where the event leads.
“It's a wonderful thing to bring back, and we can't wait to watch it grow.”