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First Fridays to kick off with salute to gardening

George and Melinda Werts, left, and center, have their portrait drawn by Samia Campbell, 17, of Williamsport. right, at the 2016 Williamsport's First Friday in downtown Williamsport on Friday Aug. 5, 2016.

The widely popular Lycoming Arts First Friday event is coming back to downtown Williamsport.

“We are thrilled,” said Shanin Dougherty, co-chair of the First Friday Committee. “We have missed it over the last year. … we are hoping that people can get out and experience First Friday, see the vendors, pop into a shop or restaurant to get that sense of community again.”

“We are happy to see a level of normalcy return in the community,” said Jason Fink, CEO and president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. First Fridays “were greatly missed last year.”

This Friday, the event will celebrate gardening and landscaping. Snyder’s Nursery at the Feed Mill, Williamsport’s Red Shield Community Garden, Penn State Master Gardeners and the Montoursville Gardening Club will all be in attendance, alongside craft, art and food vendors.

There also will be food trucks and live music from Autumn Winds Sax Quartet and others between West Fourth and Pine streets.

Williamsport High School Key Club member Kylee Neidig, 17, left, makes a balloon animal at the Kiwanis table at the 2016 Williamsport Kids First Friday in downtown Williamsport on Friday Aug. 5, 2016. The event which is sponsored by the Lions Club of Williamsport and Newberry, the Williamsport Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club of Williamsport and Loyalsock and the James V. Brown Library features service organizations and non profits sharing information about their organziation as well as activites for kids.

The event will take place in its usual spot, on West Fourth Street between Market and Hepburn streets, starting at 5 p.m.

Many downtown businesses and restaurants will be open.

“There will be exciting stuff for people to check out,” Dougherty said.

She added that there will be signs around the area advocating for mask-wearing and there will be hand sanitizer at vendor tables.

“We still don’t know if everyone is vaccinated,” she said.

People look at the art exhibit by Williamsport High School students celebrating their favorite places and things about Williamsport at First Friday on July 1, 2016. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

They also are encouraging social distancing.

Other dates for First Friday include: June 4, July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3 and Oct. 8. The August celebration will be a larger event celebrating two anniversaries, the 20th anniversary of First Friday and the 60th anniversary of Lycoming Arts.

There are many areas for parking, including the parking garage on West Third Street as well as lots across from the Cinema Center along Hepburn Street, according to Dougherty.

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