By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
Carnival games, music, food and booths from local businesses will all come together on May 1 to celebrate the First Friday of the month at the Jailhouse Casino’s parking lot beginning at 4 p.m. The kick off celebration will usher in the beginning of this year’s First Friday gatherings, put on by the Chamber of Commerce, as a way to inform people what is new at local businesses while also having a good time.
Started last year as an idea by Lorraine Clark, the events eventually grew to attract over 100 people. While Clark was happy with the success of last year’s events, she is hoping the lessons the chamber learned will go toward making this year’s festivities even better.
“It’s a way for people to know what businesses are here and for businesses to promote themselves and what new things they have going on,” Clark said. “This Friday we are going to celebrate summer with a carnival, complete with carnival games for kids.”
Wayne Cameron from the Ely Chamber of Commerce said that the amount of festivities for May’s First Friday event already exceed everything the chamber put together last year combined.
“We learned a lot from last year. This event on Friday will feature activities like face-painting, balloon animals and even a bouncy house,” Cameron said.
While the fun and games is meant to draw families, the heart of each “First Friday” event is to support local businesses. Several locally owned businesses, such as All-American Pizza and KDSS 92.7 FM will have booths set up while others, such as the Hotel Nevada are just sponsoring the event.
The area between 4th Street and Aultman will be officially blocked off, as approved by the City of Ely’s Mayor Melodie VanCamp. “First Friday” events are also scheduled for June and August, skipping July because it conflicts with the Fourth of July celebrations. While it is too late for businesses to sponsor May’s festivities, Clark says that all local businesses have to do is contact the Chamber of Commerce and pay a fee to become official sponsors for the June and August celebrations.