When Brandy Tolentino learned of Noel's First Friday kickoff, she was motivated to bring her family out to have fun.
"When I heard about it, I said, 'Let's go. Let's do something,'" said the Noel resident and young mother of two.
"We usually stay in on Friday night so this is different for us," she said as she watched her oldest son, Aldo, splash down the free water slide.
Tolentino's cousin brought her children, too, and family members watched them cool off on a hot summer night in downtown Noel, near Shadow Lake.
The inaugural First Friday brought in a crowd of people, despite warm temperatures. From 6 to 9 p.m., the general public enjoyed good food, browsed through arts and crafts booths, took part in children's activities, visited and enjoyed some music.
The Noel Betterment Association-sponsored event gave vendors a chance to set up booths with no registration fee to entice participation. Mary Griffin and her husband, Billy, who make and sell crafts, took advantage of that offer by setting up a table with their handiwork.
Mary Griffin featured banana and pumpkin bread, as well as some banana split bread, a recipe she plucked out of a Noel Women's Club cookbook she purchased 10 years ago.
Griffin also displayed small wooden Christmas ornaments, as well as wooden items her husband had created. She's encouraged by the First Friday idea.
"It's a chance for people to get out and show their handiwork," she said. "If something sells, I'll know what to do next time."
Across the way, youth and adults with the Nativity of our Lord Catholic Church were trying to raise funds for a youth conference in Springfield. The team gathered around tables with various crockpots to create and sell "Corn in a Cup," which, they explained, was a tasty recipe that features corn, mayonnaise and some hot sauce, complete with fried chicharrones.
The team hopes to raise $3,000 by July, leaders said.
In the middle of the booths with a large Noel Betterment Association banner behind her, association member Denae Murphy said organizers are encouraged that the First Friday idea will bring together the community.
"We're just hoping for a successful event," she said, as she peddled T-shirts for the association. "We've had a great vendor turnout, some good Mexican food," she said. "We're trying to bring our community together. We want to work together as a community better."
Meanwhile, association members sold raffle tickets to help defer costs associated with the event. Those on hand were able to purchase tickets for a Pod & Paddle Package, sponsored by the River Ranch Resort.
Several vendors shared their wares, from paintings to snowmen. Pat and Candace Watson of Goodman were excited to launch their unique custom wooden creations, along with their company, OutBack Creations.
The First Friday -- their first public event -- showcased several items including giant sets of dice. Customers love to play Yahtzee and Farkle with the large dice, Pat Watson said.
The couple creates fine furniture, gift boxes, cedar planters, trellises and more.
A wooden holder, in which various condiments such as ketchup, mustard and more were displayed, is versatile for situations other than just picnics.
"It fits eight cans of beer perfectly," Pat said, laughing.
Upcoming other First Friday events are scheduled for July 6 and Aug. 3 in the Noel downtown location.General News on 06/07/2018
Print Headline: Noel Community Gathers To Kick Off First Friday