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Marion residents enjoy slower First Friday

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BOUNCY HOUSE: Casey Sellers, 5, plays in a bouncy house downtown Marion during July’s First Friday.
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FIRST FRIDAY: First Friday experienced a slow-down this month, which vendors and organizers attributed to the holiday and a rainstorm earlier that day.

BY Ethan Clewell - eclewell@chronicle-tribune.com

First Friday organizer Bill Rock says this month’s First Friday attendance has been down compared to other First Fridays.

Vendors and organizers believe the lower turnout was due to the weather and the recent holiday.

“It has been slower than the other Fridays that I have been out here,” said Paige Linger with Marion General Hospital. MGH was offering free blood pressure screenings at the event. 

According to Rock, May and June First Fridays went really well, and previous July First Fridays had good turnout.

“This time of the year isn’t usually this bad, I think the Fourth being so close has affected it,” Rock said, “With the rain today, a lot of my flea marketers won’t show.”

Penny Sluder, who was also working the Marion General Hospital blood pressure canopy, noticed the decline in vendors, something Sluder says can also affect attendance.

“If somebody drive by and sees not much going on, they are not going to stop by,” Sluder said.

The fewer people showing up to First Fridays, the fewer people will get screened. 

“It’s always a numbers game. The more people you can screen, the better your chances are of finding someone that is having an issue,” Sluder said.

Even though the day was slower, there were still food vendors, bouncy castles, face painting and fire truck rides downtown.

The Brandon Boerner Band provided live entertainment, something that Rock said he has made a priority with the First Fridays events.

Rock says that the goal for the future is to get at least one big name act to perform during First Fridays.

Despite Friday’s dip in participation, Rock is still excited about this year’s First Fridays. 

“Overall, it’s been a really good year. It’s a good event for the community to come together,” Rock said.

Rock says that the nonprofit is doing well.

“We don’t have a lot of money, but we are in the black,” Rock said.

The next First Friday will be on Aug. 2.