First Friday Celebrates 10 Years Downtown - 8 News NOW

First Friday Celebrates 10 Years Downtown

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Stores have opened in the arts district in response to the monthly arts festival, First Friday. Stores have opened in the arts district in response to the monthly arts festival, First Friday.

LAS VEGAS -- During the first Friday of October, 20,000 people are expected in downtown Las Vegas for the 10th anniversary celebration of First Friday.

At a new theatre in the Arts District, preparations are being made for the premiere of a play called "Nurture."

For artist Levi Fackrell, the increase of art activity downtown attracted him to relocate his art square studio to the area.

"It really opens us up to 20,000, 25,000 of our potential audience on a monthly basis and that's why First Friday is so important to us," he said.

What started out as an outlet for up and coming artists to showcase their work has turned into a non-traditional venue.

There are painters, sculptures, live entertainment, food trucks and retailers such as Sarah Nisperos.

"We're the first clothing retail store downtown, so that was my biggest challenge," she said. "But it actually hasn't been as much of as challenge as I thought it was going to be."

Nisperos' new shop has late night hours to cater to First Friday.

Tourists and locals alike are excited about downtown changes.

The event is under new management and continues to grow showcasing life outside the casinos on the strip.

In a downtown alliance survey, more than 70 percent of people said they like what's happening there.

Derek Washington is one of them.

"I specifically moved smack dab in the middle of First Friday because I love First Friday so much," he said. "I love downtown and I just wanted to bring more attention to downtown and get more people to live here."

It's an atmosphere Washington said he doesn't want to ever leave.

"Across the street is the best pizza on Earth, next door I just got art, I just got my hair done on the other side of me," he said. "I don't know any other place in Las Vegas that you can get that."

Organizers say funding the monthly gathering is always a concern, but it's a work in progress and feel comfortable about how far the event has come.

Another big change facing First Friday is parking.

On Thursday, the City of Las Vegas announced free parking at the Stewart Avenue parking garage at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Stewart Avenue.

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