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Arts event set for downtown

Arts aficionados and Suffolk downtowners alike will love “Suffolk First Saturdays.”

The new monthly event, dreamt up by downtown business owners and economic development staffers, is finally coming together this weekend after months of planning.

“We wanted to get more people downtown to see what we have,” said Angelia Armstrong, owner of The Red Thread Studio. “We’re just trying to bring people downtown and show the creative side of Suffolk and all the culture.”

Downtown Suffolk has become known over the past few years for having many arts venues within its core. Suffolk First Saturdays is an opportunity for all the businesses in downtown Suffolk to benefit from that, Armstrong said.

The first event will be held Saturday from 3-6 p.m. along Main and Washington streets. Musical acts, artisans and craftsmen will be set up along the sidewalks to make it a walking event, Armstrong said.

If all goes as planned, the events will continue through the end of the year. Different Saturdays will have different themes — this Saturday is the “Summer Kick Off.”

Following Saturdays will be: July 4, Patriotic Fourth; Aug. 1, Dog Days of Summer; Sept. 5, Back to School; Oct. 3, Halloween; Nov. 7, Harvest Fest; and Dec. 5, Winter Holidays in Downtown.

“Hopefully, the businesses will take advantage of the theme,” Armstrong said. “When we do November, we’ll have some food ideas for the holidays coming up, and we’ll have decorating ideas for Christmas.”

The back-to-school event likely will feature book authors and illustrators, Armstrong said, and Dog Days of Summer could involve the Suffolk Humane Society. Next month, the organizers hope to provide more children’s activities and a bigger band to bring a crowd downtown for Independence Day, after which the people can watch the fireworks at Constant’s Wharf.

“It gives a chance for artists to come and set up for a little while without a big production,” Armstrong said, adding that she hopes the event will eventually become year-round.

“If it builds up as the first of the year starts, we’ll have to add on and create more ideas,” she said.