Derek Stonebarger, Las Vegas Arts District board president and owner of ReBAR, has decided to reopen his monthly First Friday South beginning May 5.
Stonebarger originally created the event years ago when First Friday announced that the festival was going on hiatus over the summer months. At that time, he owned and operated a theater on 3rd Street. The First Friday offshoot served as a way to keep people coming to the Arts District during the break.
Once First Friday started back up under the direction of the Downtown Project, Stonebarger stopped First Friday South to concentrate on his other businesses. Since then, the footprint, which once encompassed blocks both North and South of Charleston, relocated to the north side, away from many Arts District storefronts.
We count on First Friday. Also, I have a bigger responsibility as president of Las Vegas Arts District to the businesses, artists and community, so I decided that I needed to take action.–Derek Stonebarger
Stonebarger says that he has been thinking about relaunching the event for some time now but last month’s First Friday postponement due to high winds gave him the push to start back up.
“We count on First Friday,” Stonebarger says. “Also, I have a bigger responsibility as president of Las Vegas Arts District to the businesses, artists and community, so I decided that I needed to take action.”
Roz Knight, founder and executive director of City of the World gallery on South Casino Center, says, “When First Friday no longer blocked streets or brought in food trucks in our area, it stopped people from coming to our galleries and other businesses. People just stayed north of Charleston and our gallery was empty. I am thrilled that finally, we are going to getting people to come down here again. We are part of the arts community in the Downtown area, too.”
Corey Fagan, development director of the First Friday Foundation, adds, “Our entire goal of First Friday Foundation is to create a space to include everyone in the Downtown neighborhoods to be part of First Friday. Since it is a community event, we want them involved.”
On May 5, for First Friday South streets will be blocked from 7 to 11 p.m. from California Avenue to the north, Casino Center Boulevard to the east, Colorado Avenue to the south and Antique Alley (one block east of Main Street) to the west.
First Friday South is offering free space with electricity for Nevada residents who are artists or antique dealers. Vendors must bring their own tables, chairs and lights and be prepared to provide a Nevada ID and current city of Las Vegas business license.
As for the weather, Stonebarger says, “Wind, rain or heat will not stop First Friday South!”
For more information, visit firstfridaysouth.com.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said First Friday South started in 2015 when First Friday went on hiatus. First Friday South’s first-incarnation happened years earlier.