First Friday has become an event on the “must do” lists for residents and tourists alike. Around 5:30 p.m. on the first Friday of each month, the sidewalks begin to buzz with activity. By dusk, streets and sidewalks are teeming with people pausing to listen to street musicians, watch a magic act, peruse artwork or just chat with friends. Shops stay open late to accommodate the increased traffic and restaurants stay busy until well into the late evening. In the warmer months just after sundown, a free movie in the park keeps families together as they sprawl on blankets and in lawn chairs to watch a family friendly movie sponsored by a local business.
First Friday began as an idea in 2005 by downtown business owner, Greta Watkins. The City of Bryan had embarked on an aggressive master plan to improve streetscapes and infrastructure in the downtown area as part of a revitalization effort. Greta’s shop, The Frame Gallery, kicked off an open house featuring live music and artist showcase on a Friday evening as a way of enticing extra traffic inside. Other businesses were invited to participate, and little by little, the idea grew into the enormous success it is today. Almost all of the shops and restaurants are open, and other businesses, such as attorney’s offices, use the evening as a way to promote community endeavors such as the local animal shelter and summer collegiate baseball team.
The Downtown Bryan Association holds the permit for First Friday and as such, is the entity that determines who is allowed to participate. Arts and culture have always been a centerpiece of First Friday. Artists, musicians and non-profits are accepted with careful review. No selling is allowed on sidewalks. Political activities or solicitations are not allowed during First Friday. First Friday is a free event open to the public. All participants of First Friday, including artists, performers, and non-profits, must be family friendly. The Downtown Bryan Association reserves the right to deny or revoke the permit of any participate the DBA does not deem family friendly.
Street performers may apply for First Friday the 1st-15th of the month proceeding First Friday (e.g. To participate in April First Friday, performers would need to register between March 1 & 15). All performers are required to provide their own equipment and must inform DBA if they need electricity prior to First Friday. All performers signing up for the first time must submit a video recording of your performance to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your performance is amplified, the sound may not exceed half a city block. We ask that each performance group have no more than three (3) people unless permission has been granted for additional performers. Drums are not allowed at First Friday unless special permission is granted before signing up. Permits must be re-applied for monthly.
Artists and Non-Profit Groups
We welcome non-profit community groups to participate in First Friday once a quarter starting September 2016. Non-profits may request a permit to display and distribute information about their service or upcoming event, but are not allowed to sell on the streets of Downtown Bryan. All of the non-profits will be located in the St. Andrews parking lots at part of the Community Corner during First Friday in September, December, March and June. Signups for the December First Friday will be from October 15 – November 15. Groups with an interactive component may ask for an exemption to set up elsewhere or during off months by emailing email@example.com. Exemptions are at the discretion of the Downtown Bryan Association. Permits must be re-applied for quarterly.
There are two locations in the Downtown area for mobile food trucks. All mobile food trucks must have a current, valid permit from the City of Bryan. A $75 First Friday food vendor permit is required by the DBA and must be paid no later than 5 p.m. on First Friday.
We do not allow fundraising, independent distributors of commercial products (such as Avon, Scentsy, and the like), or outside vendors to sell on the streets, or for-profit businesses who want to showcase their services or products. If you are a for-profit businesses who would like to sponsor an official First Friday activity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.