First Friday Celebrates 20 Years

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Car lining up for Vintage Car Show at Downtown First Friday Twentieth Year Festival Celebration. (Photo courtesy of Aaryn Duvan Masangcay/S&G)

The sounds of canvases being placed on tables by Los Angeles local Eddy Lee, the smell of food being prepped and vendor Erbs Vegan Kitchen preparing for the night all under the backdrop of a full moon set the scene for Downtown Las Vegas’s latest First Friday.  

The First Friday of each month, locals, travelers, business owners and passer-byers migrate to the Las Vegas Art District from all over the country to gain a new appreciation for abstract and eclectic arts.  

When former Nevada State Poet Laureate, Sin A tes Souhaits hears phrases like, “Las Vegas has no culture,” he rolls his eyes and says, “Say you just didn’t look very hard.” The Las Vegas born creative said that this festival alone draws over 10,000 attendees every month, with many attendees often coming from other states.

Will and Tony McCandless of Major Power Sports agree with Souhaites stance . They’ve both heard the phrase and both agree that a cultureless Vegas simply doesn’t exist. 

As the evening went on, hordes of art-seekers and presenters danced their way through the crowd, buying art, food and patronizing vendors.

Will, originally from Texas, has been attending events like this and others—such as First Thursdays Motor Clubs—for many of his seventeen-year residency in the valley. His wife, Tony, originally  from Kansas City, Missouri, who is also the first African-American Female Powersports Dealer in the U.S. said, “I think Vegas is probably the most cultured place I’ve ever been…very, very, very diverse.”

Many others were asked and some attendees new to Las Vegas or first timers at First Fridays gave a response to the phrase that many refer to as a myth, Las Vegas lacks culture. John Gaston, an artistic vendor, gives a clear message for those seeking the culture in Las Vegas, “Get out of your comfort zone.”  

Downtown Las Vegas is celebrating First Fridays with the sounds of Recycled Propaganda band on the same night as Las Vegas Pride festivities, and Oct. 7 marks Twenty Years of First Fridays. 

First Fridays have the support of sponsors like, City of Las Vegas, AT&T, T-Mobile, Jardin and Sam & Ash.   Those interested in more information about the myriad of artistic events happening throughout the Las Vegas Valley, can follow @NothingToDoLV on Twitter and Instagram.

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