By FAYE TRAFFORD
Surprises are in store in downtown Putnam the First Friday of each month from May to December. Starting at 6 p.m., Main Street empties of cars and fills with the sounds of live music and the sight of local artists creating and sharing their work. You might see pottery, hoola hooping or dancing demonstrations; folks streaming into the shops to take advantage of special sales; and vendors offering everything from organic food to hot dogs to upscale cuisine.
These leisurely evenings to savor creativity and community also feature a beer and wine garden as well as “super high-quality entertainment,” said Sean Condon, First Friday committee chairman and co-owner (with his wife Stephanie) of Glimpse of Gaia, a Main Street floral design and art boutique.
“What we’re trying to do is showcase the amazing amount of talent in northeast Connecticut, just draw attention to how much talent there is the area,” he added, describing Putnam as “an incredibly cool town.”
“We have two live theaters and for a town with 9,500 people, that’s saying something,” he said.
Now, about the First Friday “Art Attacks...”
“It’s the only thing we don’t tell you is coming,” Condon said. He wouldn’t budge on details for this year, but noted that past shenanigans have inluded graffiti art installation, a flash mob dance performance, and a surprise appearance
by The Divas.
“Half a dozen Cadillacs pulled up and these women in evening gowns got out and did a live performance on the street,” Condon said.
He was also mum on the timing of the “attacks.”
“What I tell you is that they happen sometime between the beginning and the end of the event,” he laughed. Themes for 2012 include:
Bring your fairy wings and be prepared to enter a mystical, magical land of beauty through art.
Street art comes alive with sidewalk chalking, dancers, mimes, and “lots of tricks and surprises.”
Feel the beat with a community drum circle, tap dancers, a ‘stomp’ work shop, and interactive rhythm explorations.
Channel all that inspired summer creativity. Wander through a maze of art installations and locals creating art on the spot.
Celebrate the colors of New England with paint, movement, clay, song, photography, and art making.
Community takes center stage with a message of unity and the impact of creating together.
Light is the theme and a winter wonderland of art and activities is planned to warm your soul.
THE UPCYCLED JEWELRY OF MASTER TREASURE HUNTER SARAH BETH PAQUETTE IS ONE EXAMPLE OF THE ARTISTIC DIVERSITY OF FIRST FRIDAYS; VISITORS ENJOY THE SUMMER WEATHER ALONG MAIN STREET; AND FOOD IS A BIG DEAL AT THESE EVENTS, INCLUDING CLAM CHOWDER FROM J.D. COOPER’S RESTAURANT AND SPORTS BAR OF PUTNAM.