First Friday photo

Robin Fritz is pictured here working a loom at a previous First Friday. First Fridays are returning this year with a focus on supporting downtown Shelbyville rather than the festival atmosphere. The first event is Friday, May 7.

First Fridays are back!

After last year’s season was lost to COVID, Mainstreet Shelbyville is excited to ask the community to join them in supporting all things great in the downtown by shopping downtown during the First Friday season.

Because of COVID, Mainstreet Shelbyville decided only to do the sale portion of First Fridays, versus the traditional festival.

“What we decided as an organization is that, due to COVID and due to lack of manpower, we were not going to do the traditional First Friday,” Mainstreet Director Brandy Coomes said. “We thought ‘what could we do to get people downtown without throwing the festival type big party attraction?’ We did Downtown Dollars for the holidays and it was kind of successful. Could we take a lighter, faster version of that to get people to come down and reward them on Friday?”

Attendees can earn $5 in bonus First Friday Bucks for every $15 purchase at participating businesses (up to $100). These coupons can be used at any participating location from May through September.

Participating businesses include Sharp Trophies By Mack, Sports Locker Room, Bishopp’s Appliances, Three Sisters Books and Gifts, Pink Poppy, Linne’s Bakery, Office Hub, Now Wear This, Pudder’s, Capone’s, Munchies, Three Buds, Just Peachy Cafe, Cagney’s Pizza King, Pink House Antiques, Elegant L, Lemon Lane, Premier Loving Care, Grandma’s Pancake House and Grandma’s Cow Palace.

The First Friday Bucks coupons are also eligible for use at the Friends of the Library Used Bookstore.

“That’s our first partnership with [the library] on that and we’re excited to include them,” Coomes said.

First Fridays will be held on the First Friday of the month from May through September.

Mainstreet Shelbyville thanks Duke Energy for sponsoring the program.

“We were trying to figure out how to fund it and that’s when we got help from Duke Energy,” Coomes said. “That’s a small business initiative and they were very excited to keep our community going.”

Coomes also added that the Farmers Market will run regular this year. Mainstreet plans to host the first big community event in September – BBQ and Brew.

“We figure by September a lot of people will be healthier, they’ll have everything under control, and we’ll be more comfortable with it being an outdoor event,” Coomes said. “Everybody’s ready.”

“We’re just excited to keep people coming downtown until we get to do everything in full capacity,” she said. “Anything you can do to support downtown is greatly appreciated.”