After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, downtown First Friday events are set to make a comeback.
The events, featuring extended store hours, merchant specials and live music, are scheduled 6-8 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, beginning this week.
Santa Clara County moved into the orange tier last week, allowing for greater restaurant and retail capacity, and encouraging more downtown visitors.
“This is not a virtual event – yay!” said First Friday co-chair Carol Garsten, owner of Nature Gallery on State Street. “Both the musicians and the regular First Friday-goers are itching to get out safely and groove to the tunes around the downtown. We’re planning for a safe and fun time for all.”
The lack of fun and community connection has been hard on everyone the past year, according to Jamie Lucia, co-chair and live music coordinator.
“We are thrilled to be coming out of the stricter COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.
Eight bands playing multiple styles of music will perform at various storefronts and street corners throughout downtown, including Sunday Seven, Mars, Norm Kahan, Eurotrash, Molly & Scott, Mary Gospe, Big Mike & The Heartbeats, and HKH and The Imponderables.
Lucia said the musicians who perform at First Fridays play for free for the “sheer joy of playing music in the community which they love.”
Event organizers request that visitors practice social distancing when around the musicians and others listening to and dancing to the music.
The first 50 people who take selfies in front of at least six of the eight bands performing and post them on the First Friday Facebook page will receive a First Friday goodie bag that includes a hat, Frisbee and gifts from downtown merchants.
First Fridays are organized by a committee of five community volunteers.
“We encourage people to roam around the downtown and support our unique mom-and-pop stores and dine in our local restaurants,” said Scott Hunter, executive director of the Los Altos Village Association. “The pandemic has hit our local businesses hard, and it’s time to come out of our ‘virtual’ realities and connect face to face. You might not be able to see the smiles under the masks, but you’ll for sure see the smiling eyes and joy in the way people move during First Friday.”
First Friday is a program of Los Altos Community Foundation.
For band locations and to see photos of past events, visit losaltosfirstfriday.org.