The 11-year-old concept of First Friday - which got more people downtown and showcases artists and musicians - is getting a booster shot starting in August.
"We're going to hold First Saturday Marketplace," said Bernie Katz, president of the Williamsport Business Association, the organization that sponsors the popular street bazaar held between 6 and 9 p.m. on the first Friday of the month.
He and others on the First Friday Committee want to see expansion of the concept to give opportunities for more artists and non-artists, alike, to show their entrepreneurship.
The event would be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the following day after First Friday.
"Many people have come to the committee wanting to display, show or sell items that are not art," Katz said.
"First Fridays are meant to be strictly art displays, sales and musicians performing," he said. "It seemed only natural to expand this for anyone who wants to show, sell or demonstrate their creative talents or products."
Another purpose for expansion is to better accommodate the schedule of visitors, artists and musicians.
"Not everyone can attend Friday," Katz said.
By opening up the streets the following day, people can rest up and plan a day of shopping, grab a bite to eat or a drink from a vendor or restaurant and visit the Outdoor Growers Market, he said.
College students, who otherwise may be playing in games or matches, or watching sports or theatrical events Friday night, or who just may want to go on a date or attend a party, have the time, should they choose, to get back.
The Saturday hours also gives those who faced a night of inclement weather another chance to explore Williamsport or earn money.
Katz said he is encourages college students to display their creative materials or to hold fundraisers.
"As long as they register and pay the fee, it doesn't matter who it is," he said.
He claimed officials with the Pennsylvania College of Technology, Lycoming College and Newport Business Institute, have indicated they welcome the prospects for students to showcase art and hold fundraisers.
So, too, has the musical community, which seems thrilled with the opportunity to perform for additional crowds, he said.
"A variety of musicians have given notice they want to perform throughout the day," Katz said. "At least three bands have been booked for the August kick-off event."
In the meantime, the association is seeking volunteers, especially those from the community who are knowledgeable of the history of the city's buildings and familiar with its unique architecture.
"We'd like to provide walking tours," Katz said. Tourists and residents, alike, can learn from these experiences. "To the best of my knowledge, I don't believe the city has ever presented the combination of a sales and display event along with walking tours," Katz said.
Ideally, should the concept gain popularity, as First Friday has since its inception, potential exists to progress to First Weekends.
Holding three-days - First Friday, First Saturday Marketplace and inviting people to stay Sunday - could help hotels and it could fall on weekends when festivals, races, parades and musical concerts are held, Katz said.
Of course, looking at the calendar the term First Saturdays may be misleading. Katz stressed First Saturday Marketplace will be the day after First Fridays.
"First Fridays in September is Sept. 7, but the first Saturday of the calendar month is Sept. 1," he said. "That just means the First Saturday Marketplace in September will be Sept. 8."
For more information, contact Katz at Le Chocolat, 420 Pine St., or call 322-5544.