First Friday under new management

A look at changes to the festival that returns to the Arts District this month

The scene inside Brett Wesley Gallery on a recent First Friday. The gallery on Charleston and Casino Center Boulevards is a main stopping point for festival goers.

October is big for First Fridays, with crowds returning after the long, hot summers and annual celebrations under way. Coming off a two-month hiatus of the event’s festival portion will likely kick it up another notch, as will the new ownership of the trademark and festival.

The new team is still looking for a Downtown office space and plans to extend First Friday events all the way to Symphony Park, but the October 7 installment will already reflect the influence of the new crew, which includes Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Joey Vanas, Andrew Donner, Fred Mossler and Steve Hill.

First up, the hours of operation are from 6 p.m.-midnight, rather than ending at 10 p.m. In addition, a new First Friday festival is planned for Fremont Street between 6th and 7th Streets to showcase urban and street art, live painting and bands. Michele Quinn and Nicole Moffatt—tapped to curate the art at Casino Center—have teamed with First Friday founder Cindy Funkhouser this month to present new submissions and work by artists already promised a chance to show.

In an effort to make First Friday more family friendly, organizers promise pumpkins to the first 100 families who show up at the Casino Center hub. Additionally, Todd VonBastiaans and Bryan McCarthy (of artistic pancake pillows fame) have worked with the organizers and local businesses to create a pop-up pumpkin patch art installation at Casino Center.

Where to park? Free parking is available at the Stratosphere, City Hall and at the Clark County Government Center with shuttle service (from 5:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.) headed to the Casino Center hub. The shuttle from the Government Center will also stop on Fremont East. Dedicated parking lots in the Arts District are available for $5. Free valet parking is also available at the Arts Factory from 6-9 p.m.

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