Next weekend will mark the seventh annual Kids' First Friday event in Williamsport. Co-hosted by the Williamsport Rotary Club, the Williamsport Kiwanis Club, the Lions Clubs of Williamsport and Newberry and the James V. Brown Library, the event aims to allow "families to have a good time with little expense," said event coordinator Tony Perrotta in an email interview. The event will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1 in the parking lot between Woodlands Bank and the Bullfrog Brewery on West Fourth Street.
In 2011, the Sun Gazette reported that, "It's fitting that a city rich with history like Williamsport would have its future gather under the watchful eyes of the past. With Michael Pilato's sprawling 'Inspiration' mural and its painted renderings of previous eras' local luminaries and beloved residents as a backdrop, current-day families and children will take center stage in the Woodlands Bank parking lot downtown at ... Kid's First Friday."
Twenty-three organizations are signed up to participate in the 2014 Kids' First Friday. Each organization will host a fun activity for the children in attendance, usually in the form a craft or small project. In addition to the obvious motivation of providing a fun, inexpensive night out for families, participating organizations get the chance to expose families to the unique roles they (the organizations) play within the community.
Families and children, some sporting balloon animal-hats, enjoy the 2013 Kids’ First Friday event. This year’s event will be held on Aug. 1 in the parking lot between the Bullfrog Brewery and Woodlands Bank on West Fourth Street, and will feature crafts, games, and other fun-filled activities, like a bounce-house and music from the Uptown Music Collective.
"There are several representatives from each organization on the committee that plan and organize the event," Perrotta said, adding "the evening of the event, additional members [from] the organizations volunteer their time to make this a fun-filled event for children and families. The mission of this event is that kids and families have a good time with little expense."
The organizations that have been confirmed to date include: The Salvation Army, CoventryCares, LEARN of Lycoming County, Williamsport YMCA, Lycoming County Early Intervention Services, Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Susquehanna Community Health & Dental Center, North Central Sight Services, Inc., DeWald Chiropractic, World of Little League Museum, the state Department of Health, Lycoming County Historical Society, Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity, Lycoming Nursery School, West Branch School, Advancing Communities by Educating and Serving, Family Promise of Lycoming County, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, Advanced Pain Management and Rehab, Williamsport Kiwanis Club, Hope Children's Development Center, Lycoming County United Way and First Church Mothers of Preschoolers.
In addition to the regular sponsored events, attendees will have the chance to listen to a group from the Uptown Music Collective, explore the James V. Brown Library summer reading mobile, check out a Williamsport firetruck or talk to representatives from the National Guard. Kids also will be welcome to play basketball or jump in an inflatable bounce house.
Perrotta, a member of the Williamsport Rotary Club, has been event coordinator for the past two years but said that he's been involved with Kids' First Friday for "many years."
There will be free admission and participation for kids and families. The point, Perrotta explained, is "a good family outing without the worry about finances."
"[I] feel this is a good way to give back to the community," he said. "We encourage families to come to Williamsport and enjoy the evening."