Organizers Say First Friday Season Successful
An idea borrowed from an Arkansas neighbor proved to bring the Noel community together this year.
Noel Betterment Association officials are considering launching the First Friday events again next year, thanks to positive feedback from the community, said Betterment Association treasurer Denae Murphy.
Plans are not approved, but officials will regroup and discuss options for next year. If the organization decides to host the First Friday season again, officials may launch the events only during the summer months with food trucks and the same format as this year, Murphy said.
Noel Betterment Association officials got the idea for a First Friday event from Bentonville, Ark., which hosts themed community activities during a First Friday season.
Murphy said the idea seemed like it would work well for the Noel community, which begins to buzz on Saturdays due to its tourism industry.
Many of the Betterment volunteers — as well as other community volunteers — are busy on Saturdays, working in the canoe outfitter or camping businesses, she said.
Organizers thought the First Friday idea would allow Betterment volunteers and others to help with the event while attracting visitors to come back after setting up their camp for the weekend.
“We thought it would work well for the dynamic of our town,” Murphy said.
The idea for First Friday in Noel was born.
Officials first launched a summer First Friday program for June and July, with a back-to-school bash in August. Officials then expanded the season into the fall with a movie in September and an Octoberfest Chili Cookoff.
“It has been really positive for the community,” she said.
The free, family-friendly events appealed to varying ages. Events featured vendors, live music, food trucks, kids’ activities and a free inflatable for children. Vendors were able to set up their exhibits at no cost.
The only event that wasn’t supported well was the movie in September, which had to be rescheduled because of rain.
Betterment officials still faced the $350 price tag for the movie, since they had planned to feature Show
Dogs, Murphy said.
Though costs were defrayed with a $500 donation from Tyson officials earlier in the season, the Betterment Association had hoped for a better turnout for the movie, she said.
Officials recently completed the October event, the last of the First Friday run. Volunteers with the organization will revisit plans for next year and see if they want to pursue the First Friday events again, she said.