First Friday has become a standard experience ... something you can expect when you come downtown on that day. The experience will differ some each time depending upon weather and the like but for the most part we have a party going on each an every First Friday.
The coming events feature Fireman's Day during the October First Friday. The event will have Fire Trucks and fire fighting equipment available for all to view and get a close up look. The Phoenixville Class of 1967 is also doing a loosely knit, informal get-together during the night, one night before the class reunion. Also in October we will have music by the Reluctants, Dave Fiorenza/Wayne Dowling, and Phil Covelli. That night in the Main Street office we will celebrate Barry Cassidy's Birthday and there will be birthday cake and refreshments as well as shots of mescal.
For November we will again have a little bit edgier show as we celebrate the Day of the Dead, Halloween and any other holiday that falls around that time. We will have the Hydrogen Jukebox Band, sword swallowers, fire spinners, fire-eaters and other sideshow type acts. I got in trouble one time on South Street doing this kind of event when I allowed the "Great Nippolini" to lift anvils with chains attached to his pierced nipples. Not sure if it was the nipple thing or fear that it would rupture a nipple but some people were upset the Great One was there! We will probably have the stage set up on North Main Street...watch from the deck at Molly Maguire's.
On November 30th the Friday before the December First Friday will be the Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting. I am putting out a call for Christmas Trees...if you have a big one and want to get it cut down and donated please call me at 484-880-1530 and let me know what your address is so we can take a look at them. Big Tom Mitchell will be taking care of the parade and lighting so it should be pretty good again this year. We are taking donations for the lighting fund again this year. Donations can be dropped off at my office at 204 Bridge Street and checks are to be made out to MSCDC/Holiday Lighting.
We will continue the tradition of First Friday beads as we continue to celebrate on into the last quarter of the year. Every time we pass out the beads, people tell me how much they love the bead tradition. I see a lot of the beads on people's rear view mirrors and some say they have a collection of beads at home. We will be giving out special beads for the October First Friday, which are a little more elaborate. One to a customer first come first serve...these were beads that were in the original batch of beads that we somehow set aside and ended up in a box under some other boxes. Buying beads is kind of problematic because of the shipping costs you have to order a bunch to make fiscal sense out of it. There are so many boxes that come sometimes they get put under things.... so look for the special beads in October.
Things have changed in the downtown but First Friday seems to pretty much remain the same. Music if the weather allows and plenty of excitement in the different stores are again, a standard experience. The non-profit groups displays add the community touch to the event. I think most of all what makes First Friday special is those visiting. Most times after all the festivities grind to a halt there are still a number of people on the street chatting and having a good time connecting with fellow Phoenixville neighbors. There is a lot of diversity there too...men in suits, women in heels, folks dressed casually, Euro-Americans, Afro-Americans and Asian-Americans dot the landscape all enjoying each others company probably more than the festivities.
For those of you who have the Internet you can get up to date First Friday news by going to http://www.myspace.com/phoenixvillefirstfriday. If you are on My Space you can request to be a friend of First Friday and we will add your picture to the group of over 300 people who are now friends. The advantage of being a friend of First Friday is the fact that we send out bulletins concerning events in the downtown. We also use that site to get the word out for the Friday Music concerts in the summer. Many of the younger people keep up to date concerning events and bands on My Space.
Finally, just a note to keep everyone apprised of my health situation. My Lyme disease is still hindering me and I will be taking a few weeks off starting Monday and returning sometime before October First Friday. This is one of the biggest challenges I have had to face in my life.
Let me invite you all again, to come to my birthday celebration at the Main Street-CDC office at 204 Bridge Street on October First Friday. The office sometimes gets a little crowded during these events, but for the most part there is always room for one more.