Local vendors, musicians line downtown streets for First Fridays

First Fridays for this season started last week as the residents of Florence flooded the craft-table-lined streets of downtown.

One can expect unique and handmade crafts, music from a variety of bands, paintings and photography, free samples from restaurants and businesses offering deals at the event.

Boutiques and shops, such as Boutique Create, propped open their doors to let people stroll in and out of their venues easily.

Boutique Create is run by sisters Heather and Mara Sherrill. The shop features Heather’s Photography Studio.

“My photography shop was in the boonies until we moved here,” Heather Sherrill said.

She said business has been “awesome” since they moved their shop in town.

The main attention for the shop is the unique clothing and accessories. Leather bracelets from Lenny and Eva can be ordered there that feature a variety of interchangeable charms.

Billy Reid was packed with music lovers such as Daniel Crisler, a local musician and frontman for the band Cicada Screamers. He played guitar and harmonica while singing original songs.

“Daniel Crisler brought love, hate, life and death to First Friday,” said Brian Conner, a fan of the Florence music scene.

Jamie and Katie Barrier, married musicians from local band The Pine Hill Haints, came to Billy Reid to enjoy the music.

“There is so much weird, good creativity here in Florence compared to places like Nashville,” Katie Barrier said about local musicians.

Crafts and artwork at First Fridays can range from oil canvas paintings and handmade jewelry to hand-woven or crocheted hats, scarves and decorations.

Rachel Wakefield called her booth “Byoutere,” which hosted an array of handmade jewelry. Her pieces are all made from old antique items.

“I kind of manipulate old trinkets I find while travelling,” Wakefield said.

Wakefield said she enjoyed First Fridays because she gets to meet interesting people and have fun.

Near Wakefield’s booth was Original Oils on Canvas by RGH, or Robert Gray Howard.

Howard has only been painting for a couple of months, but said the skill “runs in the family.”

“I wanted to start painting, so I took some oil and canvas and just took at it,” Howard said. “It is a lot of fun to do.”

First Friday is also an opportunity for families of sick, injured, or disabled loved ones to raise money for medical bills.

All Stitched Up was a booth filled with hand-knitted animal hats. The items were made by Christy Hendrix to help raise money for her sister, Taylor Hendrix. The family has raised several hundred dollars to help Taylor with her bone cancer treatments. Taylor is currently in good health.

First Fridays will continue until December 7, when the weather gets too cold for outdoor events.