It is April 7th, 2017 in small town Fairhope. A big bright sun is cascading towards the horizon, allowing the wind to provide a gentle cool breeze against a vibrant warmth. The afternoon is falling just as fast as the sun and the evening draws near.
As your strides take you closer to Fairhope Avenue; the sounds of half ton pickups start fading into string bands, horns, and song. There is no mistaking it, this is First Friday.
First Fridays are nothing new, these events have been a part of communities for decades. And despite its long history, towns across the country are just starting to adopt these affairs. Fairhope, as a community, in many ways has perfected it. In a rectangular 290,000 sq ft of downtown Fairhope, restaurants fill their tables, stores' registers ching, and local artists play for the citizens. Small town business flourishes.
In walking the streets, you can tell this is more of a community of friends, than just neighbors. The group sizes tend to be more than you can count on one hand. Conversations being held not just about how the week was; there are details and intimate knowledge which portrays how much closer the personal relationships are. I may be looking through a lens, but my ears work just as well as my vision.
At the backbone for all First Fridays are the little gems of restaurants, art galleries, antiques and hangouts. Each location you visit, has its own personality that you experience with all senses. If your mood fancies something different; it is always within walking distance. Fine 100% made Italian in this peaceful corridor.
Less than a hudred paces later, some ice cream treats at the book store.
The community flourishes. All ages indulge to their heart's content in a peaceful and friendly setting. For some it is fine food and wine. For others, those tasty treats. Many visit the local artist gallery to see what is new and stimulating. The town is full of arts and wonders. Local plays advertising for their future audiences. You can easily be taken to places beyond these streets; to a different time even.
Music is one large part of Fairhope's First Friday culture. Various instruments, styles, and sounds blending together across the sidewalks. It's at these locations, that sometimes the conversations stop. This is not due to nothing left to say, however to let the ears soak in the melodies.
Home the heart is. And at Fairhope's core, it's citizens beat a rhythm unlike most others. And continue to until it is time to pack that guitar for the night. See you all next month.