On the first Friday of September historic downtown of Harrisonburg held the event Friday on the Square. The community of Harrison- burg was welcomed to go downtown to enjoy music, art, and many oth- er activities.Sophomore and ukulele player Phil J. Yoder had an impromptu ukulele concert in front of the downtown library. “The spontaneity of it was fulfilling and magical. We put up a case and people put down a bottle of coke and chocolate,” he said.
Local businesses opened their doors to curious students and others, and even offered carriage rides around the block. According to Douglas Wandersee, Associate Director of Student Programs, “It took several years of meeting with different people and departments, and discussing possible events, to find something that seemed to work best. But once this event was determined, it was a matter of about six months of organizing. My part was a small one–basically I just helped to get the ball rolling and get EMU students down there. Arts Council of the Valley are the ones who organize all the First Fridays downtown.”
Douglas also said that he hoped First Fridays would “give both new, and returning, EMU students an exciting opportunity to go off campus to explore and connect with our Har- risonburg community.” EMU provided bus transportation to students for no charge, so that everyone could partic- ipate. Many of the businesses offered refreshments as you browsed their shelves and some even offered dis- counts. Dominika Hoefle a first-year student said, “We all had a great time eating ice cream and walking around the town.”
As students ventured from store to store, they were fascinated by how such a big community can have such a close connection. One of the shops that most students found fasci nating was Ten Thousand Villages. It had a variety of products from around the globe such as pillows from India and Vietnam; musical instruments from Kenya, Peru, and Nepal; jewelry from Peru and Indonesia and rugs from Bangladesh. Then to finish the day off you could stop by Kline’s Dairy Bar for some ice cream. All in all Friday on the square was a memorable experience for all those who participated.
-by Alicia Frye, Staff Writer