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First Friday Returns in April 2013

Lansdale Councilwoman and Discover Lansdale Chairwoman Mary Fuller reviewed the success of December's First Friday at a recent committee meeting

Santa Claus came to town on November 30, and that meant letters.

Tabora Farms donated the Letters to Santa Writing Station at Discover Lansdale's First Friday that night, and what resulted was a big sack of wish lists.

"The Discover Lansdale elves want to tell everyone they will, in fact, get what they put on their list," said Fuller.

Fuller reviewed what is considered a successful First Friday to wrap 2012 at the parks and recreation committee meeting last week.

First Friday will return in April 2013. Discover Lansdale already has some musical acts booked, including Beatles tribute band Almost Fab and Philly Funk Authority. Discover Lansdale has been in contact with the bands Where's Pete?, Slimfit, The Mighty Manatees and singer-songwriter Lisa Bouchelle.

Fuller said it is more manageable to stop in winter, as the off season allows planning ahead for the next year.

"I didn't make any sense to do it December 7, when the tree was already lit," Fuller said. "We spent this year figuring everything out and going month-to-month. We're going to regroup and plan so we're months ahead."

Parks and Recreation Director Carl Saldutti said, in his opinion, you need something substantial for a First Friday event, and January limits what events one can do and where to do it.

"The problem we ran into in November: there was discussion whether we should bother to do (First Friday). We should, because it's silly to take one month off, because there's a big event on First Friday in December. This last year, I thought November's was successful with the Halloween theme," Fuller said.

There looks to be an improvement coming to Discover Lansdale, at least binaurally. Fuller said it might be purchasing a lighting and sound system.

"We are looking to expand, in terms of our sound system," Fuller said. "We're getting pricing on purchasing our own equipment. That was a huge expense last year. We were operating at a loss with First Fridays, as it was going to staging, lighting and the manpower to set it up and take it down."

Carl Saldutti said the parks and recreation department is looking at ways to expand its sound system too.

"We really liked the feel of the setup on Wood Street. Although it's busy at the Kugel Ball, we can do more than one thing," Fuller said. "Those are things we want to give thought to in the next month."

Fuller said the Discover Lansdale Committee is pleased with the season.

"The season was hugely successful, even after we got off to a rocky start with weather issues," she said.

First Friday is also a success for local businesses, Fuller said.

"Most of the places do great business on every First Friday," she said. "Throughout the year, Molly's was packed inside and out. People loved sitting outside, especially with the music playing across the street. Round Guys Brewery had a successful summer. Main Street Pizza is always packed. We're working on having Philly Soft Pretzel Factory stay open."

Fuller said more businesses have come on board this year.

"Carl's TV stayed open, knowing that they might not sell a TV that night, but they would stay open so people walk in, ask a few questions and meet new people," she said. "Hen's Coins — we brought him along and he smiles on First Friday nights. He has people coming in, and even contributed to Discover Lansdale."

Other places have even set up tables outside their shops.

"One of the things we'd like to do is put together some material on the successes we experienced this year to show the business owners up and down Main Street to show number estimates," Fuller said. 

She said everybody's happy.

"Everybody was pleasant. You engage conversation with people who haven't seen often or just don't know," Saldutti said. "The Reporter had someone that commented that they were from another community, and Lansdale's unique. They liked the TubaChristmas concert."

Fuller agreed — she saw people she didn't know over the weekend. 

"It's not the same recycled faces," she said. "Going to these events, you get to see a lot of the same faces. All throughout this weekend, I noticed many new faces."

Fuller said she saw a former school friend over the weekend, who was there for her second trip to Lansdale. Saldutti vouched that statement.

"She was impressed," said Saldutti. 

Along with First Friday, the Lansdale Business Association premiered its Christmas Tree Display at the front of 311 W. Main St.

You can't miss Discover Lansdale's tree at the display — it's got fireworks on top, denoting Fuller's love for them, especially at the annual Founders Day.

"It was awesome," Fuller said. "It's a nice addition to Main Street. That weekend had as many people through as it had all last year."

Display Co-Organizer Mary Schwalje, owner of Signarama in Lansdale, said there was a great crowd all weekend. It also helped that the borough codes department dimmed the lights during the event.

"It's more magical with the lights dimmed," said Schwalje.

David Kratz December 09, 2012 at 04:29 PM
First Friday is a great thing in Lansdale. They talk about sound, lighting and manpower to take down and put up. Well they had contact info on sound , lighting and some manpower including DJing at a very low cost but never used their resources.

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