On the first Friday on May 7th, nearly two dozen venues featuring art, music, and more will be open. The monthly event returned in April after going virtual for some data last year.
The May event has something for everyone and includes more than a handful of activities for kids and teens.
The Alive Center for Teens, 78 S. LaSalle St. in Community Christian Church, will participate for the first time with a Hot Wheels Super Track Race on the first Friday. You will have a track setup to drive the cars on the sidewalk. The new youth center also offers guided tours from 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
APS Training Academy, 105 E. Galena Blvd. An open day for the STEAM class will take place on the fourth floor of the First Midwest Bank Building from 5 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. Kindergarten through 12th grade students can play the online game Among Us and explore the free courses offered at the APS Training Academy.
Also in the bank building, French 75, a new downtown cocktail lounge, will appear on the third floor from 5 to 9 p.m. for a quick look. The new lounge and art gallery will display works of art by its owner Hope Ashworth.
Food trucks park in the parking lot next to the bank building on 2 S. Broadway from 5pm to 9pm. Harvey’s Fire Box, Grumpy Gaucho, Da Pizza Dude, Holy Pierogi, and Home Run Dogs will take part in the series. Grocery sellers can change. Please check Aurora Downtown’s Facebook page for updates.
The first Fridays last until December, with the exception of July.
On May 7th, various venues will offer the following mix of activities:
• Artesan Lofts Gallery, 2 S. Stolp Ave., opens with the Doug Jeppesen Combo Jazz Band. Resident artists show their work from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
• The gallery show “Nature: POV x 3” with media art and photography by local artists Mary Rodriguez, John Stark and Helen Ratzlow will be shown from 5 to 9 pm at Galerie 1904, 1 E. Benton St.
• Gary Brown Art Gallery and Studio, 7 S. Broadway, will be hosting “Burst of Colors,” monotypical art by Maureen McKee, along with live music from 5pm to 9pm
• At the Aurora Tap House, 134 W. Downer Place, cartoonist Billy Barnette will be on show from 5pm to 9pm, and then DJ HappyMeal will play 1980s music from 9pm
• In McCarty Mills Taproom, 140 S. River St. Unit 108, artist of the month Laura Lynne Art will be on view until 10pm
• Simply Destinee, 122 W. Downer Place, will host Cinco de Mayo Kids, with an art club, dance and open microphone for students from 5pm to 8pm
• The Riverfront Playhouse, 11-13 Water Street Mall, offers “Live Music with The Heels” from 6pm to 10pm
• Altiro Latin Fusion, 1 S. Stolp Ave., has live music from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
• The Broadway Tavern, 24 N. Broadway, is open from 6pm to 10pm with live music by Olivia Ports
• The Quinta De los Reyes, 36 E. New York St., is holding a Cinco de Mayo party from 6 to 9 pm with the Elvis impersonator Michael St. Angel from 6:30 pm
• Creaciones Morelos, 14 N. Broadway, celebrates spring with additional discounts for Mexican artisans. Open until 9 p.m.
• On the Persch, 31 W Downer Place, Suite 301, there will be a spring sale and kid craft. Greeting cards, mindfulness resources, spiritual wellness gifts, and self-care products for sale. In addition, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., children can give mom a free, meaningful gift
• The Paramount School of the Arts and Paramount Theater, 20 S. Stolp Ave., are hosting a Mother’s Day Market from 5pm to 9pm with jewelry, face masks, home accessories and more from Paramount staff including Theresa Ham, costume designer; Jesse Gaffney, prop designer; Anne Hauge, Paramount costume store; and Abbie Reed, former Paramount draftsman.
Wyckwood House, 14 W. Downer Place, will stay open late on the first Friday. Local artisans offer gifts for Mother’s Day.
– Courtesy of Joseph Weber
• Wyckwood House, 14 W. Downer Pl., Opens late with special gifts from local designers and makers for Mother’s Day. Custom gifts from calligraphy artist Lisa Johnson and Jess and Sammy from Slate and Clove, who offer all natural bath and body products and custom prints from 5pm to 9pm
• The Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway, is open for a video game night with the Windy City Game Theater, which features over 100 different video games as well as Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo switches. The museum is open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Happy Thoughts Suicide Awareness Outreach, Suite 312, 31 W. Downer Place, will host the Pride Project: Registration for our youth development program from 3pm to 8pm will also be available for sale.
• The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange, 8 N. Broadway, is hosting an “It’s a Spring Thing” popup from 6pm to 9pm, plus live music by Frankii Davis and Jazzquatch. Book signing by Devan The Artist, on site engraving of Meaningful letters and baked goodies for sale by Christy’s Little Bakery.
• Society 57, 100 S. River St., is open after work from 6 pm to 9 pm with Mokuso Pop-Up with cocktails and Japanese skewers from the grill
• Offbeat Thrift & Vintage, 14 W. Downer Place, Suite 16, houses “Ruby Retro”, used housewares and clothing with a retro flair in the basement from 5pm to 9pm.
• All Spoked Up, 14 W. Downer Place, Suite 10, has a Trash Kween pop-up shop. Shop Trash Kween offers styled, curated and altered vintage clothing and accessories from the 1960s from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For those looking for a deserted experience, First Fridays offers:
• Chalk the mall on Water Street Mall between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard. Bring your own chalk and draw on the concrete to create chalk art along the Water Street Mall near City Hall.
• The Aurora Historical Society will display a historic baseball display window at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, highlighting Aurora’s baseball history with historical photos and artifacts.
Masks are required indoors. For more information on events on the first Friday, visit auroradowntown.org.