September F1rst Fr1day to showcase downtown Bloomington businesses

If you’re new to the downtown Bloomington area or haven’t taken the time to explore, First Friday is an excellent way to discover everything the city has to offer.

On Friday, Bloomington will host its monthly event, First Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event began in 2008 as a Thursday night occurrence and as more businesses began to catch on, it slowly morphed into “F1rst Fr1day.”

Downtown Bloomington isn’t just full of bars, there are specialty shops and businesses unique to the area.

According to Marisa Brooks; Events, Outreach and Marketing Coordinator for the city of Bloomington; First Friday provides the public with an opportunity to get to know a number of the booming businesses downtown.

“The event was originally created so that people who work or go to school during the day can visit these various businesses,” Brooks said.

This month, First Friday has a back-to-school theme and is encouraging a number of locations to offer school-related sales or promotions.

Courtesy of Todd Ryburn: The Old Mclean County Court House at night.

Courtesy of Todd Ryburn: The Old Mclean County Court House at night.

For example, Crossroads, a Fair Trade shop, is offering 15 percent off of one item if students wear their school colors or show their student ID.

In fact, First Friday is the perfect event for students to explore.

“A lot of college students are familiar with the bar scene in downtown Bloomington, but if you’re drinking at the bars, you don’t get to see what else is down there,” Brooks said.

Even Reggie the Redbird will be present. You can find him hanging out in front of the Monroe Centre.

In addition to the countless discounts, street performers and live music, free refreshments will also play a large role in the night’s event.

“It’s a neat vibe to hear different genres of music being played in the community,” Brooks said.

Furthermore, downtown Bloomington is scattered with a number of art galleries that will open their doors to the Bloomington-Normal community.

“Lots of times people are interested in local art, but there is a certain stigma that goes along with entering an art gallery. Luckily, First Friday creates an open, lively atmosphere,” Brooks said.

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