First Fridays event gives businesses much-needed boost

NOW: First Fridays event gives businesses much-needed boost

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Downtown South Bend hosted an urban picnic themed first Friday celebration to bring folks together for some socially-distant entertainment

“We’ve had a little bit of a break and we are really excited to try and have a fun, family-friendly event that’s also as safe as possible,” downtown South Bend Director of Marketing and Events Kyle Carter said.

Many downtown businesses are still working to rebound from pandemic closures, restrictions and other challenges, this event, giving them a much-needed boost.

“The past few months have been a struggle for many of our downtown businesses and across the country, so if we can have an event like this that brings people to our downtown and help our businesses the better,” Carter said.

“For four months I feel like no one has been coming to our business or no one’s been coming to downtown in general so this helps a lot,” Pigeon and the Hen Pottery Owner Diana Palomo said. “We’re really excited because this new normal we’re trying to get used to, so this is just lovely to see a lot of people wearing masks outside.”

Organizer Kylie Carter said that guest safety was the number one priority at the first Friday event, with ambassadors making constant rounds to keep chairs and tables sanitized to slow the spread of germs.

“Our tables are physically distanced and they’re regularly cleaned. We have hand-sanitizer and we are limiting the amount of people per seating area,” Carter said.

A mask requirement and temperature checks were also enforced.

Most of the attendees were just happy to get out of the house and to get the opportunity to socialize during these trying times.

“Our goal at DTSB is to bring vibrancy and life to downtown and bring people to businesses,” Carter said. “People are really still wanting to do something, life has to carry on, we’re going to be in this situation for a while longer, so it’s really important that we adjust and still carry on with life but in a safe way and follow proper precautions,” Carter said.

Downtown South Bend plans to hold another first Friday celebration next month in September with a “dog days of summer” theme.

This event will have 20 different booths set up, filled with animal rescue groups, as well as a pet agility course and an “adopt don’t shop” fashion show.

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