Sunday 18th February 2018,
The Transcript

First Friday festivities are big hit

By: Jordyn Hollenbeck, Transcript Correspondent

A child in Delaware sits on Santa's lap during a previous December First Friday event. Photo courtesy of the Main Street Delaware website.

A child in Delaware sits on Santa’s lap during a previous December First Friday event. Photo courtesy of the Main Street Delaware website.

The horse-­drawn carriage, the visit to Santa’s house and the popular tree lighting ceremony.

Every December, the Delaware community unites to celebrate the Christmas season.

On the first Friday of every month, a non­-profit organization named Main Street Delaware hosts events to bring the community together. Some of the group’s events throughout the year have included “Celebrate Health with Friends”, “Picnic with the Cops” and “Chalk It Up.”

The most popular Friday event of the year has always been the December event according to the event’s photographer, John Holliger.

He refers to the event as a place to “learn to know our neighbors in a fun way,” Holliger said.

He spoke highly of this month’s event: the atmosphere is “revitalizing” with a constant “young attitude” and an air of positivity in all of the social interactions he sees.

“Everyone wants to contribute in town,” Holliger said, talking about the community leaders and townspeople alike.

Holliger has been taking pictures for the Main Street Delaware events for years; he explained how he now prepares for the December event, now that he has years of experience.

He has learned to pack two different cameras before making his way through the crowded streets—one on each hip—Holliger said, with several different kinds of lenses to capture the “uniting of community.”

For the past couple of events, he has also dragged a 6­-ft ladder behind him throughout the night; he does not want to miss any opportunities for good pictures, Holliger said.

During the monthly celebrations, local shops and restaurants must go through lots of preparation to make their businesses as inviting as they can for the newcomers. The majority of the shops utilize this event to advertise their business. Yet the preparation is not as exciting or easy as the actual festivities; one local restaurant owner described the confusion that the events often bring.

Richard Upton of J. Gumbo’s enjoys the events and likes bringing in local performers to play in his restaurant, he said, making it a good place to dine and to relax. It is not stressful, he said, but the days leading up to Friday can be fairly confusing.

Many of the businesses won’t know what blocks are shut down during the event and which ones will stay open until a couple days before, Upton said, and owners need to know if their business will be accessible to foot traffic—and exposure—or if they will be outside of the main festival area.

Despite this adversity during preparation, the Christmas First Friday event is one of the best, Upton said.

“There is always a giving feeling [in the community],” John Holliger said. “It is great being surrounded with feelings of generosity and gratitude for our town.”

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