September’s First Friday features local artwork and a kid-friendly concert in the park

The Spiral Bookcase and Manayunk GreenWorks were just a few of the Manayunk stores which featured local art in their shops last Friday night for the neighborhood’s First Friday event. 

“We try to do a lot with local artists,” said Russ Garrow from Manayunk GreenWorks. “And we always try to have a band out here to get exposure for local musicians.”

Local artists like Caitlin Mahoney see this event as an opportunity to get exposure in their own community. Her work was exhibited at GreenWorks on Friday night. “Without [Russ Garrow], I wouldn’t really have a place to show my work,” she said. 

And Mahoney isn’t the only artist taking advantage of the chance to showcase her work locally.  The owner of The Spiral Bookcase, Ann Tetrault, says First Fridays mark the start of a new feature exhibit at her store each month and those First Fridays are booked up through February. 

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For people new to Manayunk, First Friday is a way for them to get to know the area. Phil Harner just moved to Manayunk from Atlanta. “This is a great way just to get out and kind of see some of the businesses in the community,” Harner said. “Maybe go meet some people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

This month’s First Friday event also included a concert by Cris and Lou at Pretzel Park.  The kid-friendly duo who played songs like “You Can Do It,” which is about using the toilet for the first time, and the “Toothbrush Song,” which is about brushing your teeth twice a day. They also played classics like the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Shop owners say they were pleased with the increase in exposure that community events like First Friday have given their businesses. Although the First Friday event in Manayunk is still in its first year, the hope is for it to continuously grow and attract new consumers for many years to come.

Hope Janelle Berninghausen and Francis Hilario of Temple University produced this piece in collaboration with Philadelphia Neighborhoods and WHYY/NewsWorks. 

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