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First Fridays are back downtown

Shafter's First Fridays return to downtown on June 14, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will include live music, a variety of food vendors, games, activities and shopping.

The First Friday events were started last year, the brainchild of Mayor Chad Givens and a committee charged with improving and attracting business downtown. Despite a lukewarm reception from some in the city, Givens told the members of the cCity Council and the committee that the events would attract entire families to the downtown area, having the residents spend their Friday nights in Shafter, participating in some fun and spending their dollars in Shafter instead of heading out of town for an activity.

At the first First Friday event last June, Givens was quoted as saying, "I was kind of criticized when I first suggested the idea, but just look at the turnout. What do you see? You see a lot of residents here with their families. Shafter has a very large number of residents with young families, and they are here enjoying themselves, instead of spending their dollars in a different city."

Several organizations were on hand at the event, including the Shafter Recreation Department, who is beginning their tennis lessons, tennis camp, and a number of other summer activities.

This year's inaugural event will include vendors El Michoacano, Candelaria's Bakery, Korean BBQ, Semper Fries and other food vendors. There also will be live music, games for the kids, and information booths set up by organizations including the Shafter Recreation Department, Shafter Police Department, Shafter Library and Learning Center, and Community Action Partnership.

The Friday events will continue in August and September, skipping July for the community fireworks celebration.


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