First Friday goes virtual with first ever ‘Stay at Home’ edition

Although downtown Dayton's treasured galleries, restaurants, bars, shops, and eclectic businesses are closed, the First Friday tradition is proceeding today, April 3, with the first ever virtual "Stay at Home" edition.

"We host First Fridays to show off our small business community, as well as the arts and culture in the heart of downtown Dayton. This month is different with our community ordered to stay at home, but our businesses and artists have been creative in pivoting to the online world," Allison Swanson, marketing manager at the Downtown Dayton Partnership explained. "We hope this Virtual First Friday shows Dayton all the amazing things there are to still discover, even if it's from the comfort of our couches," Swanson continued.

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This altered First Friday is part of the Partnership's OPEN* Downtown campaign to support local small businesses and cultural nonprofits during this unprecedented crisis. They have curated an online menu of activities, experiences and opportunities that you can partake in from home. This innovative approach honors the social distancing policy while supporting downtown's 120 small businesses that are still operating online.

“Small business owners and the hundreds of workers they employ are the backbone of our community, and right now is the time they need us to rally behind them,” said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

Shopping online is the most direct way to support Dayton's locally owned businesses. Daytonians are encouraged to purchase gift cards and merchandise online from local retailers, such as Clash Dayton and Heart Mercantile. Downtown bars and restaurants, including Arepas & CoPedal WagonTender Mercy, and Toxic Brew Company are offering discounted gift certificate deals.

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The Partnership has also gathered a menu of activities, experiences and opportunities to spice up your Friday night. Whether you're looking for family-friendly fun or ideas for an at-home date night, they've certainly got you covered. It's the perfect time to schedule a "virtual date" with friends or family to interact together, while apart.

It couldn't be simpler to take part in Friday's festivities. Simply visit the Partnership's event page for a full list of experiences to choose from. Hosting a virtual party with friends? Tune into Vinyl Night from Skeleton Dust, Rev. Cool's dance party on WYSO Public Radio, or Music Bingo from Liftoff Entertainment. For families, we are excited to explore the Wright Cycle Shop and The Boonshoft's digital programming.

Streaming an art house film from The Neon or past live performances by The Human Race Theatre Company are great date at-home night options. We're also looking forward to checking out Edward A. Dixon Gallery's Watch & Listen Live with artist Sabrina Terence.

Complete your evening with a delicious dinner, and perhaps some take-home beers from your favorite brewery. There are dozens of downtown restaurants committed to serving the Dayton community and keeping their employees paid during this difficult time. Most restaurants are operating on special delivery and takeout operations. Find the full list here.

The first ever Virtual First Friday occurs on April 3 from 5 p.m. to midnight. The Downtown Dayton Partnership will have the full list of activities all in one place and available on their Facebook event page here.

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