GREENFIELD – The weather might turn cold this weekend, but there’s a hotbed of activity planned in downtown Greenfield – from poetry readings and crafts to a new exhibit at the local art gallery.
A trio of downtown community leaders have banded together to bring back Second Fridays events – a Greenfield tradition that dates back many years but has ebbed and flowed in participation over time.
Stacey Poe, coordinator at the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home & Museum, said the monthly focus is a great way to bring local merchants and cultural stops together to entice the public to spend a little time in downtown Greenfield.
“We want a vibrant downtown, but we have to have things to do,” said Poe, who served several years on board for Greenfield Main Street, which supports and promotes the historic downtown area.
When the board opted to put Second Fridays into the hands of downtown stakeholders in 2020, Poe and a handful of others stepped forward to rekindle the tradition. Then the COVID pandemic put those plans on hold.
Poe has joined forces with Carol Barrett, who manages the Twenty North Gallery on behalf of Hancock County Arts, and Charlie Vetters, who owns Organic Robot Designs, to rally the troops for Second Fridays this year.
A number of events have been planned with the hope of making Second Fridays a recurring staple on the downtown cultural and commercial scene.
“Our hope is it will continue to grow. A lot of it is educating the public and getting the momentum going, ”said Poe.
From 6-8 pm Friday, Greenfield Chocolates will hand out samples of handcrafted chocolates, Organic Robot Designs will do a live printing of Indiana-themed shirts, and Wooden Bear Brewing Co. will host an artist and their artwork.
The Riley Home will host the Open Mic Night in Lizabuth Ann’s Kitchen from 6: 30-8: 30 pm when local poets can take their turn at the mic reading poetry.
During that same timeframe, the Twenty North Art Gallery will host an open house to unveil its newest exhibit, “More Than Face Value,” featuring work by Indiana members of the American Portrait Society.
A handful of downtown business owners have vowed to stay open a little later to give visitors plenty of options when coming downtown.
To play its part, The Gilded Nest home and gift boutique will team up with Hancock County Creations Arts Studio to help visitors “make and take” Easter crafts for kids from 6-8 pm Friday. The shop will also have cotton candy and Spring ornaments for sale, with all proceeds going to local nonprofit Brianna’s Hope.
“Going forward, we plan to have art demonstrations and more hands-on art and craft events for the family,” said store owner Mary Schuck, who would love to see the Second Fridays movement take root and continue to grow.
“The Gilded Nest has taken part in several Second Friday events since we opened two years ago, and are excited to see the tradition being revived,” she said.
“Downtown Greenfield is becoming more and more vibrant as new venues and businesses have opened and buildings are being improved,” said Schuck, who feels that Second Fridays can create a positive ripple effect throughout the downtown commercial district.
“These types of events give our city the chance to enjoy their downtown together, which in turn supports small businesses owned by members of the community, encouraging even more local businesses to open downtown,” she said. “All of this works together to build up and celebrate what is uniquely Greenfield.”
Barrett, a longtime Greenfield resident who manages events at the Twenty North Gallery, said the resurgence of Second Fridays is a great opportunity for people to get out and explore all that the downtown area has to offer.
“I have many memories of downtown adventures throughout my lifetime, from strolling through shops to watching artists creating away at their easels positioned on street corners… and sitting at the sidewalk cafe enthusiastically enjoying the ice cream flavor of the day,” she reminisced.
“We’ve enjoyed these things in downtown Greenfield, but we’ve had to retreat and rebuild a safer way of life over the last couple of years. It’s time to come back out and enjoy what downtown has to offer, and meet our friends and neighbors, ”she said. “We have a beautiful downtown filled with beautiful shops, parks and galleries offering events, exhibits and entertainment. Most are free and allow you to visit throughout the night as your schedule allows. ”
Barrett anticipates that the list of Second Fridays events will grow in the spring and summer months, and she encourages people to follow downtown hot spots on social media for the latest details.
Vetters plans to print signs listing those businesses and organizations that plan to participate each month, along with QR codes leading guests to each location.
Schuck hopes an increasing number of downtown merchants will continue to join in on the fun.
“When we as merchants collaborate, we generate fresh ideas, build each other up and make adding hours to the week far more fun,” she said. “The more businesses that take part makes Second Friday even more inviting for our community to come downtown.”
Second Fridays is making a comeback in downtown Greenfield, where merchants and organizations are banding together to give visitors an extra reason to come out on the second Friday each month.
Following is a list of special events taking place Friday, April 8:
European handcrafted chocolates samples
Organic Robot Designs
Live printing of an Indiana mushrooms design
Wooden Bear Brewing Co.
Artist on site with their art
The Gilded Nest
Make-and-take Easter crafts, special sales and cotton candy
Hancock County Creations Art Studio
“Make & Take” Easter crafts
James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home & Museum
Poetry Open Mic Night
6: 30-8: 30 pm
Twenty North Gallery
“More Than Face Value” art opening
6: 30-8: 30 pm