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Downtown Inc announces First Friday themes for 2016

Julia Scheib
505-5439/@JuliaDispatch

Downtown Inc recently announced the themes for each of 2016's First Fridays, the popular events that attract thousands of people monthly to downtown York City.

In this file photo, Lorelei Drinkut, 4, of York City, gets sprayed by Liam Leisses, 5, right, of York City, while Drinkut's mother Sarah Noble looks on in the splash zone during First Friday Water Wars on South Duke Street in York, Pa. on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Dawn J. Sagert - dsagert@yorkdispatch.com)

First Fridays are designed to introduce the community to all that downtown has to offer, including shops, restaurants and cultural offerings, said Downtown Inc's executive director, Sonia Huntzinger. On First Fridays, businesses downtown are open later than usual and some offer specials from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Downtown Inc's marketing director Meagan Feeser explained that themes help to make First Fridays more cohesive.

Next year's themes are:

  • Jan. 1: Ring in the NEW
  • Feb. 5: #iloveyorkcity
  • March 4: Shop and Hop
  • April 1: Spring Fling
  • May 6: Moms on Main
  • June 3: Block Party
  • July 1: Christmas in July
  • Aug. 5: Sidewalk sale
  • Sept. 2: Fashion Friday
  • Oct. 7: Harvest Fest
  • Nov. 4: Holiday Open House
  • Dec. 2: Light Up Night

Downtown Inc, which was then called Main Street York, started organizing the events in 2005.

Since then, First Fridays in York have grown a lot, Huntzinger said. In 2010 the organization started a grant program that allowed downtown businesses to apply for funds that would allow them to participate in First Fridays, she said. They could use the money if they wanted to offer things like refreshments, entertainment or giveaways.

Next year, Downtown Inc plans to give away up to $1,000 each month through the grant program to expand merchant participation in the events.

More than 60 businesses participate in First Fridays, she said. A news release from Downtown Inc states that this month's First Friday drew 7,000 to 10,000 people to downtown York.

The organization hopes to grow the event even more, and Huntzinger expressed her excitement at the sponsorship of Wellspan Health, which she said began last year.

— Reach Julia Scheib at jscheib@yorkdispatch.com.