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No need to fear Firsts' fate

By MARY JANE PARK, Times Staff Writer
Published October 21, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - It's hard to imagine how people could confuse a popular monthly event with a popular yearly event, but it appears that has happened as residents fret about city budget cuts.

Get Downtown, the free outdoor concert series held the first Friday of each month, will lose $7,000 in city dollars but will continue.

"It's not going away. It's alive," says Dennis Barth of the Breakfast Optimist Club, which has sponsored the event for the past six years.

Concertgoers commonly refer to the event as First Friday, and that can create an identity conflict with First Night, the annual New Year's Eve celebration, Barth says.

Despite an $8,400 hit in the wallet, that show, too, will go on, First Night executive director Pat Mason says. It's the 15th year for the family-friendly offering.

"We are saying buy a button and support the event," Mason says.

As for Get Downtown, or First Friday, Barth says: "We're going to struggle a little bit, but it's alive and well and going on as usual."

Proceeds from the monthly concerts go to help young people's organizations in the community.

The next one happens Nov. 2.

First Night First Friday One night a year Monthly 4 p.m. until after midnight on New Year's Eve 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. the first Friday of every month Numerous venues downtown and along the waterfront of St. Petersburg Central Avenue between Second and Third streets Admission fee No admission fee No beer Beer Fireworks No fireworks

[Last modified October 20, 2007, 22:56:43]

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