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First Friday a day to celebrate, shop

March 04, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The first Friday of each month will soon be a new reason to celebrate and shop in Greencastle.

Starting Friday, the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce and Greencastle Area Arts Council will host First Friday, a monthly event that promotes the downtown by showcasing the talent of area artists and performers.

Chamber Executive Director Bill Gour said the event is a good fit for Greencastle.

"We have a vibrant arts community and a thriving downtown," he said. "Plus, people in Greencastle are very supportive of community events."

First Friday celebrations have been popping up across the country and Arts Council President John Gamble said it was time Greencastle joined the trend.

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Dozens of local artists were eager to participate in the inaugural First Friday, he said.

"When word got out we were going to host First Friday, I had so many artists contact me and say they were interested," he said. "I have already begun to schedule artists for the next few months."

Marissa Burt said the response from local businesses was equally as strong.

Burt, a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments in Greencastle, said businesses love publicity for downtown, so many were eager to get involved.

"In today's economic environment, our businesses are looking for opportunities to promote the downtown and what it has to offer," she said. "It is so essential to have a strong downtown and First Friday is a fabulous way for businesses to come together with artists at the same time they promote the town."

Nine businesses in downtown Greencastle will stay open late on Friday to host local artists, including singers, painters and poets.

The artists will display and demonstrate their work in the shops, Gamble said. The Allison Antrim Museum on South Ridge Avenue will also hold extended hours.

For the inaugural First Friday, nine is the perfect number of businesses and artists, Gour said.

First Friday will have room to grow as the Chamber works to make it a year-round event, he said.

Keeping the event fresh will be the key.

Gamble said by rotating artists and businesses First Friday can have longevity in the community.

"This is only the first of many, many to come," he said.

Merchants and artists participating in the inaugural First Friday:

o The Antrim House Restaurant will welcome vocalist Kerensa Gray during the dinner hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

o Local artist Ruth Jordan will display her prints at Sweet Myrtle Fine Gifts and Interiors

o Susan Shaffer will design and create jewelry at Willowtree Gifts and Flower Boutique

o Fran Kennawell's State Farm Insurance will host students from Greencastle-Antrim High School at 6:30 p.m. to perform excerpts from the upcoming school musical, "Hello Dolly."

o Visual Artist Marti Yeager will show her watercolor and pastel landscapes at E.L.M. Shoes

o Pam Bartl will demonstrate spinning wool at E.L.M. Department Store

o Anna's Paperworks will host Beth Shaull who will use paper available at the shop to create collage landscapes.

o Pat Beard will demonstrate weaving on a small loom at the Jewelry Shop, which will also display shaker boxes created by her husband Ed Beard.

o Simply Irresistible will welcome the Coffeehouse Poetry Night where local poets will perform original and published poetry.

o The Allison-Antrim Museum on S. Ridge Avenue will hold extended hours for visitors to see its Abraham Lincoln display

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