Now that First Thursday Fayetteville has grown to include the entire downtown square, it’s time to start taking advantage of all that extra space.
The monthly event returns for a new season in March with an expanded music stage, food trucks, a wine walk and a partnership with the Fayetteville Public Library to provide a wide assortment live entertainment events for children.
By adding that to the already popular outdoor art walk, kids’ zone and charity beer garden, event officials should feel confident in their goal to solidify Fayetteville’s position as the premier destination for a monthly cultural arts experience in Northwest Arkansas.
“We’re really, really proud of Fayetteville,” said Tanner Montgomery, the city’s visitors service manager and primary organizer of First Thursday. He said continued annual support from residents has been a leading factor in generating added sponsorship to help First Thursday grow from a loosely organized event in 2009 to an all-out monthly downtown festival.
Added sponsorship means more opportunity for activities and the 2013 schedule makes that abundantly clear.
Attendees will notice a larger live entertainment stage sponsored by local music school Fayetteville Music Factory, complete with professional sound and light production. The school’s students will perform a half-hour set as part of their class instruction before the stage is turned over to the Fayetteville Public Library.
With the new partnership, library staff have booked nationally and locally known artists including Trout Fishing in America, DJ Papa Rap, Sugar Free Allstars, Afrique Aya, the Institute of Juggology and Tommy’s Terrific Wacky Magic Show.
Library director David Johnson said bringing children’s programming to First Thursday fits perfectly with one of the library’s main goals this year.
“One of our initiatives is to really expand the library’s outreach by moving what we do well within the walls of the library into the community in as many different ways as we can.”
Following the children’s events, residents can enjoy live music on the main stage from 7 to 9 p.m. each month. This year’s featured performers include Boom Kinetic, Full House, Groovement, Oreo Blue, Calle Soul, Joe Giles & The Homewreckers and The PolkaMeisters.
As for food and drink options, officials this year will debut an Arkansas wineries wine walk and local food truck court on East Avenue to coincide with the New Belguim Brewing Company beer garden. Expect to find Nomad’s Natural Plate, Kind Kitchen, Yancey’s Dickson Street Dogs and The Smoothery located near the main stage and wine walk areas.
First Thursday runs from March through October, but will take a break in July because the event would fall on Independence Day July 4.
Each event will feature a theme with specific planned activities to support and celebrate the month’s concept.
For example, April’s theme is “Cycle the Square” and will include bicycle workshops, tricycle races and activities hosted by the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks and local bike shops. October’s “Oktoberfest” will include a bratwurst eating contest, a German breed dog costume contest and a polka band.
Artists who’d like to participate can rent a space for half the price of previous years by registering for a seven-week season pass. Volunteers are also needed for various shifts throughout the season. To apply for artist space or to volunteer, visit firstthursdayfayetteville.com.
2013 First Thursday Fayetteville Event Programming
Information provided by the Fayetteville Visitors Bureau
March 7: “That’s Some Pig”
In conjunction with the Ozark Literacy Council, the very popular PIGShibition community art project will be coming to First Thursday. These unique works of art will be displayed on the square and auctioned off on March 14 at the Fayetteville Town Center. The non-profit organization of the month will be the Ozark Literacy Council. The featured band for the month is Full House, a 10-piece band, known for their rock and roll covers from Fort Smith.
April 4: “Cycle the Square”
First Thursday Fayetteville will partner with the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks and the coordinators of Fayetteville’s Earth Day celebration in April. In addition to being the non-profit organization running the beer garden, the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks will have bike shops hold quick workshops throughout the night, tricycle races, and other fun activities. The featured band will be Oreo Blue, a local blues band.
May 2: “Fiesta First Thursday”
The activities for May’s First Thursday Fayetteville will be announced at a later date. The non-profit organization running the beer garden will be the Latino Alumni Society. There will be much more musical entertainment for this event that will include: Latin American Ensemble, DJ Paparap, Balleta Folklorica, Zumba Social, and the featured band, Calle Soul.
June 6: “Corks & Canvas”
This First Thursday event will be in collaboration with the Black Music Month celebration that began in 2012. The theme will be centered around an anticipated partnership with Painting with a Twist—a local attraction specializing in group painting classes. We hope to hold the largest public art class ever in the state of Arkansas. The beer garden non-profit organization will be Pagnozzi Charities. The featured band will be Groovement, a local funk rock band.
August 1: “Broadway” *theme is still tentative
Still to be determined, First Thursday Fayetteville is working with the Walton Arts Center to bring a ‘Broadway’ flair to Augusts’ event. The OMNI Center will be the non-profit organization running the beer garden. The featured band will be Joe Giles & The Homewreckers, a local band that has been featured at many popular events including Bikes, Blues, & BBQ.
September 5: “Fest of ALL”
This will be the 3rd annual Fest of ALL event will be combined with September’s First Thursday. It will be organized by the Community Resources division of the City of Fayetteville and will bring diverse entertainers from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Ranger’s Pantry will be the non-profit organization running the beer garden. The featured band is Boom Kinetic, a popular local rock/alternative band.
October 3: “Oktoberfest”
The First Thursday Fayetteville 2013 season will come to an end with an Oktoberfest celebration. There will be several traditional Oktoberfest activities including: a bratwurst eating contest, wiener dog races, German breed dog costume contest, pumpkin decorating, and more. The Fayetteville Underground will be the non-profit organization running the beer garden. The featured band will be The Polkameisters, a band specializing in polka and German folk music from the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.