First Friday, now in its 11th year, is that monthly event that allows downtown Canton's arts district to shine.
On the first Friday of each month, from 6 to 10 p.m., people flock downtown to check out the latest exhibits at art galleries, live music, family-friendly activities geared to that month's theme, shop at downtown boutiques and enjoy food and drinks at restaurants and bars.
At different times of the year, depending on the season, there are ice sculptors, ice skating, outdoor concerts, street performers, drum circles and sidewalk-chalk artists.
At 7:30 p.m. on each First Friday, the ornate and historic Palace Theatre hosts a free family movie. The Canton Museum of Art hosts a monthly First Friday event with free gallery admission, hands-on activities and a cash bar.
Downtown galleries include the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography, whose collection that includes master photographers past and present; Ikon Images: The Illustration Gallery, which spotlights nationally known artists of the fantasy, horror and sci-fi genres; and Avenue Arts Marketplace, which features wares from area artisans and crafters.
Among downtown shops are The Apothecary, for essential oils; Print & Press for locally produced cards, prints, gifts and local-themed T-shirts; Arrowhead Vintage and Handmade Goods, for novelty items and toys both vintage and new; Cantonology, for decorative items with a nostalgic Canton focus; and Colette's Vintage, with a wide inventory of woman's clothing dating to the early 20th century.
Popular downtown restaurants include Bender's Tavern, Canton's oldest restaurant (since 1902), which specializes in seafood; Basil Asian Bistro, a lively spot for stir fry and sushi; Napoli's Pizza, for a quick slice; George's Lounge, a local favorite for its inventive burgers; Deli Ohio, for its menu of ultra-fresh sandwiches; and Cultured Coffee & Waffles, with sweet and savory waffles.
Recommended drinking establishments include Canton Brewing Company, a two-floor venue with quality craft brew and food; Buzzbin, a rock 'n' roll bar with a big beer selection (and tacos); Conestoga Grill, an old-school cocktail spot; and the Imperial Room, perpetually packed with First Friday revelers.
First Friday is presented by ArtsinStark.
WHEN: The First Friday of each month, from 6 to 10 p.m.
WHERE: Downtown Canton arts district, bordered by Tuscarawas Street W, Market Avenue N, McKinley Avenue NW and Sixth Street NW.
UPCOMING THEMES: Fitness Frenzy, May 4; Gone to the Dogs, June 1; Chalk the Walk, July 6; Fandom, Aug. 3; Pizza Challenge, Sept. 7; Glow Night, Oct. 5.