Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 2, 2013

JILL BOND: A fun, fabulous way to spend Friday night


— My 11-year-old nephew called as I was leaving work one Friday last month, his child voice asking a question I didn’t expect to hear until he was a teen.

“Can you come pick me up?”

Turns out, he wasn’t in danger or trouble. He just wanted to come spend the night at his aunt’s house. I obliged his request, telling him we would be going downtown that night. It was the first Friday in April.

People strolled from one open door to the next, greeting one another like old friends. The line at Pepperwhistle stretched to the door, and as soon as a table opened, a group swept in to occupy it. The employees were swamped, rushed, but patience and good-nature was in the air. Though the wind bit with winter’s edge, the sun brought people out to see what this event, still in its infancy, is all about.

A magician was performing for a table of people as we waited in line. My nephew watched as one foam ball in two hands became two foam balls in one hand. “Did you get your mind blown?” I asked him as his wide eyes confessed his amazement. A fellow at the table chimed, “I’m sitting right here and I don’t know how he did it!”

Next door at Planet Mind Learning Store, the kid sat down to a game of “Spot It.” He rocked his challenger in the game of quick thinking. When asked by the master of ceremonies what name should be added to his certificate of victory, the child reported with all seriousness, “Warfkong.” The man running the game had a look of disbelief and asked him to pronounce it. Silly kid.

The boys wouldn’t let me look around over at Lux for very long. We sidled up to the hard cider tasting in the corner where two friendly men were monopolizing the server’s attention. McClure’s of Peru was showing off its delicious brews. Who knew there are so many different types of cider?

Over at LeaderOne Financial, Ryan Minick, Steve DeLon and Carrie Hair were celebrating the opening of their office in downtown. Warm greetings abounded and snacks and beverages kept the kid occupied while we talked like grown-ups. Ryan shared some fascinating information about the building and its recent history.

There was a lot of positivity in downtown and a fair amount of activity. As each month passes, I feel confident the celebrations will get even better. Take the time to check out downtown this Friday. With more interest and more participation, this event can grow to something spectacular.

I hope someday First Friday has enough draw to close down the streets to courthouse square. This month, First Friday has added several new attractions. As it expands, artists, musicians and vendor offerings will lure even more people to take part and get to know our beautiful and thriving downtown.

Want more information? Visit www.firstfridaykokomo.com to find out what’s going to be happening Friday evening.

Jill Bond is city editor of the Kokomo Tribune. Contact her at jill.bond@kokomotribune.com, call 765-454-8578, or on Twitter @Jill_E_Bond.