Crowd-control issues have made recent First Friday Artwalks feel a bit dicey at times. To prevent further issues, and to safeguard the growing popularity of the monthly showcase, expect changes before you venture out later this evening for a night of fun.
Thousands of Richmonders will attend the First Friday Artwalk along Broad Street and nearby cross-streets later tonight. During it’s current (and 10th) year, the event has experienced an increase in attendance, as well as some security issues. To help limit any future issues, here are changes that will take effect:
- Earlier hours of operation, 5:00pm-9:00pm
- NO PARKING will be allowed on Broad Street between Belvidere and 1st Streets. There will, however, be parking at paid honor lots, and free parking on a first-come-first serve based at Centenary United Methodist Church at 4th and E. Grace streets, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 8th and E. Grace streets, and at the Jefferson Hotel with a purchase at the Lemaire restaurant with validation.
- Music and vendors must close by 9:00pm
In addition, vendors must have the correct ‘Downtown Business District’ permit (this applies to private and public property). Volunteers wearing First Fridays t-shirts will be present to pass out flyers and answer questions.
The City of Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department is also rolling-out a new ancillary event targeted at younger attendees. Titled The Lounge @ CenterStage, it will be an event taking place between 6:00pm-9:30pm at Richmond CenterStage property between 6th and 7th streets along Broad Street. The event will feature live music, spoken word, DJs, food vendors, and more. This is likely a response to an increase of disconcerting behavior among Richmond youth as the First Friday events have become more popular for them.
photo by Mr Michael Phams