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First Fridays draws a crowd

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FAMILY FUN: A girl gets her face painted in downtown Marion Friday evening.
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SERVE IT UP: A vendor smiles while serving food out of a food truck during the second First Fridays downtown Marion. The event drew crowds to enjoy the sunny summer evening.
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WILD RIDE: A child smiles as he slides down a obstacle course during the second First Fridays event in downtown Marion.

BY Scott Fleener - ctreport@indy.rr.com

Marion community members enjoyed the warm weather Friday evening during the city's second First Fridays of the season.

One of the big draws to the carnival-like atmosphere is the line of food trucks and vendors offering a taste of the city. 

“Taste of Cole’s Bar-BQ,” a First Fridays' staple, was selling ribs and chicken out of an old camper trailer Friday night. 

The truck's owner, Minnie Cole, said her favorite part of running the barbeque truck is meeting new people and hearing how good her cooking is from her customers.

Cole's husband started the food truck, and her kids wanted to keep it going. The business has been going for about 20 years and Minnie has been in the current truck for about 10.

The truck's cook and Minnie’s brother, Larry Cole, said the business started to earn the family some extra money for sports. 

“We used to play softball and we would barbecue to earn money for gloves and uniforms and stuff,” Cole said. 

On the opposite end of the line of food trucks, Margie Sanchez-Bradsher, the owner of Mama Margie’s garden, and her granddaughter Alana Blackburn, sold Lemonade Shake-ups, snow cones and slushies to visitors who needed a refreshing sweet drink.

Sanchez-Bradsher said she originally started selling vegetables and herbs six years ago in 2013 when she attended the first First Friday.

Blackburn, the seventh grade cheer coach for McCulloch Middle School, was there to help with a fundraiser to buy uniforms for the cheerleaders. She hoped to raise at least $500.

Sanchez-Bradsher said she had hoped to be closer to the front but after they put up the inflatables she was okay with her spot. 

“We’re going to have more of a crowd of kids,” Sanchez-Bradsher said. “I guess I cater more to snow cones and stuff for the kids and $1 is pretty reasonable for parent for afford a sweet treat for the kids."

First Fridays will return to downtown Marion on July 5 and Aug. 2. The free event typically takes place between 5-9 p.m. and includes activities for kids and live entertainment.