Manassas Journal Messenger | ‘First Friday’ to kick off in Old Town

Live entertainment will ring out all around Old Town Manassas on Friday evening.

Beginning at 6 p.m., Historic Manassas Inc. and merchants, restaurants and galleries will begin to observe “First Friday,” a new monthly program designed to bring more people into the downtown Manassas area.

“I think the event will give the town a party-like atmosphere, making the town come alive,” said Joanne Wunderly, owner of The Things I Love. “It’s a wonderful idea, introducing people who have never been downtown to what we have to offer in the way of unusual shops and great restaurants and activities.”

Visitors exploring the sidewalks and shops will be entertained by Dave Elliot, a vocalist and guitarist.

Versed in everything from pop and classical guitar to blues, Elliott will add to the festive atmosphere of First Friday by roaming throughout the area.

Other entertainment planned around Old Town includes:

? Local group, Jar of Souls, will be performing at Java Jack’s beginning at 8 p.m,

? Okra Louisiana Bistro will be hosting the Tone Popes playing traditional jazz and blues,

? Jake’s Seafood Restaurant will present pianist Ernest von Zell, featuring the music of George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, along with special requests,

? Williamsburg Winery will host a wine tasting session at the Opera House Gourmet,

? The final Friday Family Movie Night for 2003 at the Harris Pavilion will feature the popular family movie “Shrek,” along with a pajama contest before the show.

A spot check of the downtown merchants said they fully supported the program.

“Any kind of a promotion that brings more people into the area, I’m all for it,” said Raymond R. Willis, owner of RW Books and president of the Old Town Business Association.

Willis said he got a head start on the First Friday program, as he has been staying open on Friday evening for the past month, and that business has been good due in part to programs at the Loy E. Harris Pavilion.

Other merchants are also looking forward to the event.

“Our door is always open up until 8 p.m. We certainly are in favor of a program that puts more potential customers on the street, hopefully they will come in or remember us at some future time when they help with a hobby,” said Justin Chase, manager of Olde Towne Hobby Shop.

Karyn Hume, owner of Original Watercolors, has similar hopes.

“Historic Manassas has done a great job promoting the First Friday idea,” Hume said. “Now our job is to be open and greet potential customers. I think it is a great way to promote ourselves and make people conscious of the fact that we will be open late the first Friday of each month.”

For more information, contact Mariane Gesotti, marketing director of HMI, at (703) 361-6599.

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