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Halloween and Christmas to be celebrated at First Friday

Jennifer Sprouse • Nov 1, 2013 at 7:15 PM

While most places have already started taking down their spider webs, flying witches and other spooky decorations, tonight’s First Friday events in downtown Johnson City will give residents one last chance to get in the Halloween spirit before next year.

Known this month as “Freaky Friday,” First Friday will run from 5:30-8 p.m. in the downtown area and will include numerous Halloween-inspired activities for participants of all ages.

“We’ve been building First Fridays by having consistent music and we’re still going to have music. What makes this one different is the fact that it’s so close to Halloween that we just wanted to continue with that theme,” said Shannon Castillo, director of redevelopment for the Washington County Economic Development Council and secretary of the Friends of Olde Downtowne.

Castillo said one of the activities at the Freaky Friday event will be pumpkin decorating.

“It’s going to be like ... pumpkin painting,” she said. “That’s going to be outside of Energy Fitness. That’s part of their anniversary party. They are celebrating their second anniversary.”

Graphic artist Lynn Bachman will also be performing during First Friday festivities tonight.

“He performs interactive hands-on artwork with kids and that will be at the corner of Roan and Main streets,” Castillo said.

At 7 p.m., a Halloween costume contest will take place, with one winner chosen from three categories — best pet costume, best costume for kids 17 and under and best costume for participants 18 and up. Winners will be chosen by audience applause.

She said Hands On! Regional Museum will be open for its new event called “Discovery After Dark.”

“It’s basically Hands On! for grown ups,” Castillo said. “Every month they’re going to try to do ... something different, but more geared toward adults, something fun.”

Blue Moon Dinner Theatre will also be putting on a performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and there will be art openings at Nelson Fine Art, Tipton Street Gallery and the Johnson City Area Arts Council.

Also on Friday, The Charles, 308 E. Main St., will reveal its storefront holiday windows.

“We always open our holiday windows on Nov. 1 and it just happened to be Halloween weekend,” said William Bailey, co-owner and operating partner for The Charles.

Bailey said about 10 minutes before 7 p.m., the store will be completely dark inside and said they will start playing Christmas music. At 7 p.m. the lights will be turned on to light the display for those attending the unveiling.

“Last year, The Charles won first place for the ... downtown merchants’ storefront window display. You have to go bigger and better, so this year it features 14 animated elves,” he said. “We have recreated the old Santa’s workshop. These (elves) are all 1969-1971 elves that were in storefronts years ago. The elves seem to be the magic niche for us.”

He said the display is two stories high and features an 18-foot Christmas tree in the front window with elves scattered around, as well as a few positioned on trapezes.

The Charles will also have two 10-foot tall dollhouses in the side windows that were recreated and built from wood, modeling old cardboard houses used long ago in concerts at Freedom Hall Civic Center.

“We design our Christmas windows in February. By June, we have to own the parts and pieces if we’re buying anything, and then for the last three months we have been in construction,” Bailey said. “I have had four people working since Sunday. (On) Sunday, we started in the back rooms, but there are four people working 10 hours a day just doing assembly and decorating.”

Now in its 10th year of participating in the window display contest, Bailey said The Charles has transformed its windows into a variety of scenes, and said “at nighttime is when the windows, especially, come to life when you see all the light and color in them.”

For more information on First Friday events, visit https://www.facebook.com/jcfirstfriday.

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