First Friday Has First Anniversary

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A nice, little neighborly project has turned into a much-anticipated monthly event: the First Friday Art & Antiques Walk on Main Street.

The merchants presenting the celebration are pulling out the stops for the upcoming First Friday May 2 -- it is the first anniversary of the program.

The roots of First Friday actually go back about three years, according to Mike Stuart, who owns and operates Gasoline Alley with his wife Debbie.

"About three years ago I was approached by Carol McCauley, who at the time was the Main Street Program administrator," he said.

McCauley asked him to chair the Main Street Merchants Committee.

"We had a small, core group of merchants that really wanted to work toward positive change for Main Street."

Working with the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation, Jerry Owen and LaRon Garrett of the Town of Payson and the Main Street Program, the First Friday Art & Antiques Walk. Many clubs and organizations joined in to help the program grow.

"Many people have unselfishly devoted so much in the way of time and resources to get us where we are," Stuart said.

"Ken and Brenda Mooney from Bootleg Alley have worked tirelessly. Pastor Chuck Proudfoot from Community Presbyterian Church provides a place for us to meet each month and provides -- and drives -- the shuttle for the event. Artists from both Down the Street Art Gallery and Artists of the Rim work hard on our behalf. Jerry Cruz from the Main Street Grille is very involved and even arranged and paid for the live concert by Cody Gibson and Code Blue for our anniversary."

Also contributing to the success of the program are merchants not directly benefiting from the event: Pollack Guns, Rim Sight & Sound, and Printing by George, Stuart said.

The thing that has surprised Stuart most about the program is how quickly it became a success.

"I thought it might have taken a while for people to warm up to it," Stuart said.

He said the outside vendors that participate help make the event fun for everyone.

"It has been interesting to hear people say how surprised they are to see the variety of businesses on Main Street," Debbie Stuart said.

This first anniversary for the First Friday Art & Antiques Walk will also have a tremendous amount of variety.

To help celebrate this one-year milestone, the Main Street Grille is sponsoring a free concert featuring Cody Gibson and his band Code Blue. The band will be on stage at Mike Amon's property located next to Eagle Mountain Gifts.

At Eagle Mountain, all new furniture will be on sale at 40 percent off.

A free shuttle bus will be available along Main Street making a continuous loop between the Main Street Grille and the Community Presbyterian Church throughout the evening and it can be boarded anywhere along the route. Parking is available at both the restaurant and church, plus there is on-street parking.

Classic, custom and sports cars will be on display at various locations on Main Street. Wayne Michelizzi will display his vintage 1960s top fuel hemi dragster at Bootleg Alley Antiques & Art. Ken Mooney will be sitting in the driver's seat as Michelizzi fires up his dragster. The dragster will remain stationary as it is lit up just after sundown.

The Main Street Grille is offering half-price appetizers and will have the KCMA Radio boom box.

At the Community Presbyterian Church there will be chocolate delights, hot dogs, handmade products from around the world and live music.

Down the Street Art Gallery will have a free wine tasting sponsored by The Beverage House. In addition, the KRIM Radio remote will be there along with a Humane Society Booth.

At Bootleg Alley there will be a live performance by a jazz musical group.

The Artists of the Rim Fine Art Gallery is offering special anniversary refreshments. Right next door at Git A Rope there will be even more live music.

Gasoline Alley is celebrating the First Friday first anniversary with a 10 percent storewide sale. It will also have the Kiwanis Club on site with hot dogs and brats as well as the Soroptimist Club with See's Candy.

The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and is free to attend. Many merchants will offer free refreshments and free, on-street parking is available on the south side of Main Street between Westerly and the Oxbow.

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