The First Friday of the month in Carbondale is typically one big party; traffic is detoured around downtown, and crowds filter in and out of shops and galleries on Main Street. You might even see a flash mob pop up in the midst of it all. Carbondale’s First Friday celebrations have been paused due to COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped organizers and revelers from celebrating virtually.
With stay-at-home orders in full effect for last month's scheduled First Friday, organizers got creative and hosted the whole thing online; over 120 households signed into the event. This month’s First Friday will be held mostly online, but with a new twist—Carbondale Arts spent the week distributing chalk and yard signs for residents to create a “Yard Art Walk” within their neighborhoods before they sign into the virtual event.
“While we’d much rather be gathering face to face, this format really does give people the feel of community and the feel that we are all together even though it’s only virtual,” said Carbondale Arts executive director Amy Kimberly. She said that the art walk portion of the event allows people to get outside and celebrate while they practice social distancing.
The online portion of the event is being billed as a "Family Block Party & Pride Parade," which Carbondale Arts is hosting along with the Thunder River Theatre Company, the Carbondale Creative District, and the Carbondale Chamber. Special guests from the LGBTQ community will be joining the event, which will conclude with a community howl for first responders.
Carbondale Arts’s Yard Art Walk will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. The online celebration will stream from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Thunder River Theatre Company's ThunderStream on YouTube.