Downtown Kennewick offers 1st Thursday

Kennewick will have its first 1st Thursday Oct. 1.

The event is the response by business owners and the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership to the community’s request to create a more vibrant downtown, said Emily Estes-Cross, Kennewick’s economic development manager. Shops will stay open late the first Thursday of each month, featuring specials and open-house style activities.

The event is a change to downtown’s previous Art Walk events, she said.

“This is an event that includes Art Walk, but also includes the rest of the merchants downtown,” Estes-Cross said.

Merchants will be open 5 to 8 p.m. along First Avenue, Kennewick Avenue and Canal Drive, between Cascade and Washington streets.

Entertainment will be provided in Flag Plaza at the corner of Kennewick Avenue and Benton Street. It will include Boys & Girls Club percussionist Abe Martinez at 5 p.m., and Dance Connection from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Trees around flag plaza will be lighted and businesses with specials and activities will be marked with pink balloons. They include a tarot card reader at Locally Curated, a face painter at Unique Inspirations, free jewelry inspection and cleaning at Desert Gem and food available for sale, including Frost Me Sweet cupcakes, pink kettle corn and Between the Buns hot dogs, in addition to regular downtown merchants.

The event also features a “Girls Night Out” benefit for the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, where goodie bags will be sold for $15 each at the cancer center, Zinful and the old J.C. Penney building. Participants who buy the bags are entered into drawings for prizes, and a “Pink Party” is planned at 7:30 p.m. at the J.C. Penney building.

The entertainment and promotions will vary each month. The city is looking for jugglers, street musicians, mimes, dancers, hula hoopers and other talents. They can call Estes-Cross at 509-585-4258.

A “Mr. Movember” mustache contest is being considered for the November 1st Thursday, she said.

“Not only do we open up and showcase the businesses, but we offer something new to come and check out each month,” Estes-Cross said.

Events where businesses open up in the evening are not new. “It is successful across the country, whether it’s a First Friday or a Second Saturday,” she said.