SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – While Friday night’s weather might be cold, a monthly tradition will still bring hundreds of people into downtown Scranton.
It is First Friday in the Electric City and this year the popular event could be growing.
First Friday started several years ago as a way to promote arts and culture and help small businesses.
Because of its overwhelming popularity, organizers say having activities just one night a month may not be enough.
For the last year and a half, Meegan Possemato has helped run the On & On marketplace on Lackawanna Avenue.
Every month, the night she looks forward to most is First Friday when arts and culture are celebrated in Scranton.
“It’s amazing because Scranton is alive. It’s a city. There’s music, people on the street, people are having fun,” Possemato said.
Always the first Friday of a month, businesses open their doors to bands and performers, put on special exhibits and even hold art walks.
Thom Welby is acting director of the group that helps organize everything.
Based on the success of First Friday he thinks it’s time for the program to expand.
“We are talking about maybe making it “Downtown Fridays.” We’ll keep First Friday as it is, that being arts related and maybe making the other three or four Fridays, depending on the month, making it more entertainment oriented,” Welby said.
Bella Faccias Chocolates is one of the first businesses that embraced the idea of First Friday years ago.
It is usually one of the 30 to 40 venues that will hold an event and its owner thinks expanding the program is smart.
“I think it’s awesome. The more business in downtown Scranton, I think it’s great how they’re building up downtown Scranton between the hotels and with everything they’re doing,” owner JoAnn Marianelli Finnerty said.
Back at On & On, owners hope any expansion of the First Friday model is done strategically.
First Friday is always their biggest night of the month.
“We just see so many other people that normally wouldn’t come downtown coming down,” On & On co-owner Andrew Planey said.
The Board of Directors for First Friday is planning to meet within the next week to figure out how to proceed.
No exact ideas are set in stone.
If they decide to grow the events, directors would like to start offering more things in April or May when the weather warms up.
The group that runs First Friday is all volunteer. They say they welcome ideas and suggestions on how to make events stronger.