Area festival making its return

No one was really sure what to expect when the idea of First Fridays on Fourth was proposed last year.

The monthly festival along Fourth Street in Steubenville quickly caught on, however, and since its beginning in May, has become a must-attend event for residents from across the Tri-State Area.

Started by the Steubenville Young Preservationists and the Harmonium Project and led by entrepreneur and artist Therese Nelson, it returns for its eight-month run Friday night.

First Fridays offers an evening of fun for those of all ages.

It features games, food trucks, vendor booths, local craft brewers, art displays and live entertainment. The evening is a chance to relax and unwind, spend some quality time with family members and enjoy the company of friends and neighbors.

Each month will carry a different theme, with Friday’s event built around Easter and fish fries.

Additions this year will include more art galleries and installation art, organizers have said, and horse-and-carriage rides will be available.

Downtown buildings will share the spotlight as well, with displays planned that will encourage visitors to see beyond an empty storefront and to imagine the potential for new opportunities.

That’s an important aspect of First Fridays. The events offer, as Nelson has said, a way to build civic pride and get people to be comfortable with the idea that they and their families can enjoy quality time downtown. In fact, organizers hope to be able to create a new sense of excitement that will bring additional businesses and attractions to that area in the form of new shops, craft brewers, restaurants and art galleries and that there will no longer be a need for a monthly showcase.

First Fridays on Fourth offer a chance to experience what’s good about our region while providing a glimpse at the potential the downtown holds.

We’ll see you there.