Pine Bush First Fridays was born in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a precarious time for small business owners. Shops were empty, and there was no end in sight. Everyone was scrambling to do something to help.
One local small business owner suggested starting up First-Friday events because they were hosted outdoors. It made sense, so a small committee was formed that consisted of Town of Crawford and Pine Bush Area Chamber of Commerce volunteers.
The Chamber gifted seed money, and the Town of Crawford donated resources to get the first event off the ground. The inaugural event in October 2020 was a huge success!
That evening, businesses offered discounts and specials, vendors paid to participate on the sidewalks, musicians volunteered to play outside and in shops, and the public turned out and complied by wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines. People seemed genuinely happy to be out and socializing in a place where they could feel safe.
After the event, the positive feedback from local business owners was overwhelming. Each expressed hopes that the events would continue on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the event's committee-chair moved out of town the following month, which left future events in jeopardy.
Rather than giving up, the small remaining committee worked double-time to keep the events going. It worked, and the events continued to grow.
In April 2021 it was decided that Pine Bush First Fridays needed to go from being a "thing" to becoming an official nonprofit entity. By doing so, it could obtain tax-exempt status and the committee would be able to apply for larger grants. The mission had always been for the events to become self- sustaining.
At that point, Ellen Quimby, Domanie Ragni, Michael Swensen, and Linda Nilon came together to form Pine Bush First Fridays Inc., which became and official NYS nonprofit corporation in June 2021.
With continued assistance from volunteers, this free, family event and our local businesses will survive and thrive!
Artists, artisans, musicians and performers are welcome!