THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) –Thomasville held a "Back to School Bash" downtown Friday.
Shops and restaurants stayed open late to draw people downtown.
This month's First Friday event has a school theme with a high school band performance.
We found out why First Fridays are important for the Rose City.
A year ago, some Thomasville merchants came together and decided to create a nightlife in the downtown area. Soon, First Fridays was born and businesses began staying open late for the monthly event.
"And every month there's a few more that's open as they see the crowds grow," says Karen Smith, Downtown Thomasville's Mainstreet Executive Director.
August's First Friday will be bigger than ever as the city celebrates the beginning of a new school year.
"Thomasville is a great place to shop," says John Robinson who visits downtown often. "The scenery is real pretty and people are nice."
The First Fridays are even increasing tourism as people from surrounding cities begin to take notice.
"We have a good following from Tallahassee and now Albany is beginning to join us," says Smith.
Organizers also use the First Fridays as a chance to tell people about other things going on in Thomasville. They use sidewalk carts like this to keep brochures packed with information on upcoming events and area attractions.
"We're constantly trying to put something in front of them to let them know and to remember Thomasville," Smith explains.
And getting people to come back helps boost the Rose City's economy.
"It's exciting to see different things, different events," Robinson says. "We need more people around to visit these stores and I think it would help the economy out a little bit."
Smith agrees, "In today's economic times, you're doing everything that you can to stimulate business and to get people coming in your store and get more traffic in your downtown."
And she says the First Fridays are the ultimate way to get people walking, shopping, and dining downtown.
The Downtown "Back to School Bash" kicks begins around 5:30 PM every First Friday of the month.
Here's just a few fun activities you'll find:
The Yellow Jacket Band of Thomas Co. Central High School will perform their Band Camp Showcase between 6:30 – 7:30 PM near the Courthouse on Broad St.
The Downtown Market featuring locally grown produce and artisan food will be in front of the Genealogical Library from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. **The Downtown Market will also be held on Saturday, August 7th, from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Courthouse on Broad St.**
WTXL – ABC/27 – Tallahassee will be broadcasting LIVE from the parking lot of TOSCOGA at the corner of Broad & Remington from Noon through 6:00 PM. They'll be offering free lemonade and other give aways from local merchants.
Savannah Moon & Bakery will be selling Bar-B-Que ribs in a cup & sandwiches.
The Bookshelf and Gallery will be featuring a Handmade Market with local artisan crafts and a Children's Art Show on Friday evening and Saturday!
Kathy's Shoes ~ Summer Liquidation Sale! All summer shoes & sandals are on sale in Kathy's Sale Closet! Stop in for Refreshments and an Extra 10% Off All Sale Shoes on First Friday!
Relish & Dash ~ Wine & Cheese Tasting All Day Friday ~ Live Music!Gear up for school with Dash by spending $50 to receive a FREE Alternative Apparel Tee and receive a FREE Brooks Tech Tee with purchase of running shoes ~ Friday Night Only!
Toscoga Marketplace Celebrates 10th Anniversary! Enjoy a 10% – 50% store wide sale Thursday – Saturday this week and open late on First Friday!
Hick's Clothing Company ~ Live bluegrass music by The Outlaws in front of Hick's Clothing beginning around 7:30 PM! (Weather permitting)
The Limelight ~ Big sale preview beginning at 5:30 PM on Friday and continuing Saturday ~ Store wide 25% sale on furniture, lamps, and pictures and 75% off Sale Room items!
Izzo's Soda Fountain ~ Offering delicious Sausage Dogs & Drinks outside and Live Entertainment starting at 7:30 PM!
Nest & At Home in Thomasville ~ In celebration of the Grand Opening of Nest, At Home in Thomasville is offering an additional 25% off all items already discounted 50% AND all Match Point Linen will be 25% off ~ Starting at 5:30 PM – Friday Night Only!
Sparkle Goat Cafe ~ Open for DINNER on First Friday!
Joolz ~ Lemonade, Cookies and PRIZES for the first 20 customers and a Sweet & Petite Jeweled Cross give away!
Visit the city of Thomasville's website for more information on First Fridays and other events here.