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May 3, 2013

First Fridays schedule expands

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — Fabulous First Fridays in Oneonta has expanded into Fabulous Fridays.

The downtown event, which in recent years has been on the first Friday of milder-weather months, will be offered on the first and third Fridays this year from May to September, organizers said.

The program features performances by musicians and bands, art displays, food tastings, face painting and other happenings along Main Street downtown generally between 5 and 8 p.m., depending on the presenter and activities planned.

The First Fridays program, sponsored by Main Street Oneonta, had been growing, Julia Goff, MSO program coordinator, said Thursday, and MSO, a business promotion group, decided to expand the series.

Main entertainment, such as local and regional bands, is offered at Muller Plaza downtown, and participating retailers and restaurants offer special activities, Goff said.

“It’s always a great time,’’ Goff said.

MSO will spend about $15,000 on events this year for downtown, including the Fabulous Fridays series, downtown trick-or-treating for Halloween, musical entertainment for the farmers’ market on Saturdays, for holiday events and other activities, Goff said.

MSO, which includes business and community members, is looking for additional members and volunteers to support events and other projects, Goff said, and anyone interested may call her at 432-8871, ext. 208.

Some highlights of tonight’s 5 to 7 p.m. Fabulous Fridays program include the Electric Thermal Funk Band from SUNY Oneonta, performing at Muller Plaza and Brewery Ommegang beer tastings.

The MSO Design Committee has been working on improvements to the walkway between the municipal garage and Main Street. Bob Brzozowski, committee chairman and a Common Council member, said an arts display area in the lower portion of the walkway will be opened tonight with a reception. Art work by painter Madeline Silber will be the first in a rotating exhibition, he said, and painter Simone Mantellass recently completed a mural in the entry way.

During a 5 to 8 p.m. cakewalk at the Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., participants for $2 may walk on numbered squares until a piano stops playing for a chance to win gift certificates for cakes, a media release said.

Fabulous First Fridays started in 2010, thanks to the initiative of former Common Council member Liz Shannon, Mayor Dick Miller said Thursday. He applauded the expansion of Fabulous First Fridays and praised Goff’s work and MSO, as a private-sector group, for making the program a community institution. Residents years ago would talk about going downtown on Thursday nights and shopping, he said, and now the topic can be Fabulous Fridays.

“People look forward to it,’’ Miller said. “It’s terrific.’’