First Fridays: a Creative Tradition
by Kevin Nakagawa
Carbondale is recognized as one Colorado's Creative Districts, using collaboration, creativity & community to strengthen local businesses, artists & organizations. This colorful town has deep roots in creativity, with one of its most locally known traditions - First Fridays - as an essential.
First Fridays have a magic about them that seem to capture the energy of the community into a steady pulse that locals have come to rely on. It feeds artistic souls, bringing about inspiration through anything from gallery openings to live music to locally crafted cocktails at one of our personal favorites, Marble Distillery.
First Fridays started with a small group of Main Street businesses, led by then CCAH Executive Director Ro Mead, in an attempt to bring out the creativity of local merchants. They ended up starting a monthly ARTWALK, focused specifically on gallery art openings. As the popularity of the ARTWALK grew, other businesses were excited and wanted to participate so they began featuring artists and interactive events to contribute to this increasingly popular event.
"The art and entertainment and good food attracted people from throughout the valley to Main Street. Many businesses, especially restaurants and bars, said it was the best night of the month economically. I think that probably stands true today" shared Amy Kimberly, CCAH Executive Director.
Over time, the ARTWALK evolved into First Fridays when CCAH and the Carbondale Chamber collaborated to provide a full blown community celebration of local art, live music, food and drink, and local business. "It's a night where [everyone] can join in on everything Carbondale has to offer" said Andrea Stewart, Carbondale Chamber Executive Director.
What to expect at First Fridays: twinkly lights, families, themed activities, sidewalk chalk, alcohol, music, dinner specials, familiar faces, and good vibes. This once a month tradition showcases the vibrancy of our community, and the energy felt here inspires our own contribution to this eclectic community we call home.