09-14-11-celebrate-the-arts.jpgLooking for something fun to do with the family? Well, don’t worry about gassing up the car or packing your bags; you can enjoy a ‘stay-cation’ right here in Fayetteville.

If you haven’t heard of 4th Friday, an event held on the fourth Friday of each month in downtown Fayetteville, it’s not too late to see what all the excitement is about and get in on the action.

Did someone say Dogwood Festival? No, no, it’s not the Dogwood Festival — but it is something like a miniature version, with a dose of the arts and some creativity thrown in for good measure. 4th Friday brings a sense of fun and community to the city, filling up the streets of downtown Fayetteville, month after month.

Art, entertainment, shopping, wine tasting, delectable dishes and desserts? Several businesses and vendors, along with the Art Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County pull out all the stops every month to make each 4th Friday more memorable than the last.

Calling all artists! If you paint, bead, write, dance or have any other creative talent that you want to display, this is defi nitely your time to shine. Cindy Whitehead, one of the many artists who frequent the downtown event month after month, has been coming to 4th Friday for four years.

4th Friday is a true celebration of the arts and downtown Fayetteville. People of all ages can come out and enjoy art, entertainment, bistros and shops to find unique items.” Whitehead said.

This celebration of the arts is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Fayetteville. From Hay Street to Gillespie Street and all the points in between, door prizes and colorful exhibits are likely to steal the show, that is, if the miniature train ride around downtown Fayetteville doesn’t.

Choo-Choo... The Cotton Exchange Express seats four to six people and takes off from The Cotton Exchange at 226 Donaldson St. in downtown Fayetteville.

Sheri Collins, 4th Friday coordinator with the Fayetteville Downtown Alliance, feels 4th Fridays are a great idea that get residents to come out, walk around, and get an idea of what Fayetteville has to offer.

“Many people are new to our community, brought here by Ft. Bragg, and are not familiar with the heart of our city. 4th Friday gives them a reason to come downtown,” says Collins. “Among the favorites are the belly dancers and the drum circle, which invites everyone to participate. This year the Downtown Alliance has a different theme and activities for 4th Friday each month. That will continue in 2012 and the events are expected to grow and become even better.”

Mary Kinney, of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, says the city is gearing up for a special twist to 4th Friday for the month of September.

“This September, 4th Friday is going to be different from any other Friday. It will kick off the Art Council’s 33rd International Folks Festival, a three day event that includes the Parade of Nations. This parade represents different cultures and will begin at 7 p.m.” said Kinney.

Whitehead, an avid lover of all things art and the opportunities available with the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County, sums it up best when she says “4th Friday brings an evening of fun and camaraderie for everyone. Seeing all kinds of folks get together for a fun filled evening is what I like the most.”

Find out more about 4th Fridays at http://www.theartscouncil.com/fourthmain.php or http://www.fayettevillealliance.com/4th_friday.aspx.

Photo: Cindy Whitehead is one of the many artists who frequent the downtown 4th Friday event. Photo by Yuliya Atabay.

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