AMBLER — First Fridays is set to return to Ambler this week.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the business community, Ambler Main Street Manager Elizabeth Wahl Kunzier said she hopes it will be an opportunity for people to patronize downtown shops and restaurants.
“It’s so easy to shop at Amazon. You sometimes have to make a conscious effort to support local,” Wahl Kunzier said.
The kickoff event will take place from 6-9 p.m. on May 7 in downtown Ambler, according to Wahl Kunzier. It will continue in June, August, September, and October.
Butler Avenue will also be closed from from Main Street to Lindenwold Avenue during First Fridays, but the side streets will be open to traffic, Wahl Kunzier said, noting that Butler Avenue is expected to reopen around 11 p.m. that night.
Wahl Kunzier added the street closure will allow participants to walk through town as restaurants and businesses provide service outdoors.
While it’s unclear how many people are expected to turn up Friday night, Wahl Kunzier said the Ambler Symphony will play on the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler patio as attendees stroll along the primary thoroughfare.
The borough began hosting First Fridays back in 2012. The event would typically bring food trucks, vendors and kids activities to complement the brick and mortar businesses’ specials, according to Wahl Kunzier.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed things. Due to health and safety restrictions associated with in-person gatherings, the event wasn’t held in the usual way last year. Instead, Wahl Kunzier said she put on a virtual First Friday in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Restaurant Weekend allowed downtown eateries to host patrons outdoors.
For this new take on a longstanding tradition, Wahl Kunzier said she hopes that First Fridays will bring the community together.
“I just think people miss each other,” Wahl Kunzier said. “People miss walking through town and seeing the businesses, seeing people being happy, and feeling a little bit normal.”