Bixby Knolls First Fridays a Popular Event

By Armando Jacobo
FIRST FRIDAYS Long Beach attendee holds a python in her arms from the Reptile Adventures.

Abraham Lincoln made a cameo and petting zoos were readily spread throughout the strip on Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls.

First Fridays Long Beach has been known for its family environment and resonates community engagement amongst one another.

Long Beach native Terrell Gibbs attended the event for the first time with his daughter and felt it was a good way to bond over art.

“First time and the experience was great – the bonding with my daughter. She loves it, so most definitely will come back. My daughter loves art. I love art growing up too, I used to draw and everything, I was deep into it,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs ended up purchasing artwork from a local Long Beach artist at the artist showcase to commemorate the experience.

“We’re both artists, it runs in the family. We both like art and draw and everything. So I wanted to really check it out. And it seems lively to me I like the community energy around here,” said Gibbs.

FFLB is hosted and funded by the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association – a pool of business owners that aims to promote the Bixby Knolls area.

The event has been a running tradition spanning over ten years that showcases businesses, organizations, vendors and artists.

The north end of town holds this event every first Friday of the month and offers food trucks, live music, art shows and pop-up shops.

Hawthorne artist Charlotte Vahnek was one of the artists who showcased their artwork at the Expo Arts Center and utilized the First Friday event for her abstract art.

“Since COVID and everything, I hadn’t done any other show, and then I recently moved from my old studio, and I thought, you know, I need to get back out there again,” said Vahnek.

Vahnek has welcomed the opportunity and family atmosphere.

“From France originally but I’ve been in the U.S. for 20 years. I don’t live too far from here and thought this was a sign to continue my work. So, and I remember this place always being nice, so that’s why I decided to come back,” said Vahnek.

First Fridays Long Beach has attracted many, from new patrons to veteran attendees who attend routinely.

Long Beach resident Mark Martinez is an experienced visitor and, while attending First Fridays discovered, Amerigumbo –  a band that covers a mix of classic rock, Motown, jazz and blues.

“I’ve been following them for over a year and I’ve been videoing their performances and posting it on Facebook. I do most of the videos, media and social media stuff for them now,” said Martinez.

Just like the band, First Fridays Long Beach has been a gumbo mix of different cultures that culminate once a month every Friday to commemorate a community atmosphere.

The next First Friday event has yet to be announced but is expected to be announced on the Bixby Knolls social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and their website. 





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