First Friday Las Vegas, one of the largest arts and culture festivals in the Western United States, celebrates in Downtown Las Vegas with “Carnival,” a fete of merriment and excess, on Friday, February. 6.
Keeping with the traditions that inspire “Carnival,” First Friday attendees are encouraged to draw from the festival costumes of New Orleans, Brazil and Venice and fashion elaborate masks to dress the part. In addition, all attendees are asked to bring beads for a friendly, Mardi-Gras inspired bead exchange with old friends or new friends. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Charleston and Casino Center, guests can delight in a real N’Awlins-syle parade complete with a second-line, marching band and decorated bikes. A second parade commences at 9 p.m. from the same location featuring a Samba line and drumming, snaking through the First Friday footprint and gathering partygoers along the way.
First Friday attendees can also capture their First Friday experience at the welcome tent, enjoy “the mobile art” inspired by the Mardi Gras parades of New Orleans, indulge in specialty cocktails, listen to classic festival music and marching bands and view scenes of celebrations around the world on the big LED screen in Fashion Alley. All festival participants can tap their inner creativity at the special Mask Creation-Station. Kids will also be able to build theme-inspired creations from Lug Vegas and visit the pets up for adoption from the Animal Foundation in KidZone. Attendees can sample a variety of carnival-inspired cuisine from the traditional food trucks on site. Food trucks offering a special themed dish for the evening will be identified by a festival mask on their façade and scattered throughout the First Friday footprint. The Dance DepARTment will feature a variety of DJs throughout the evening, while emerging musicians are featured at The Hub.
The inspiration of “Carnival” stems from the diverse, widespread and centuries old celebrations which originally emanated from the Christian calendar running from Epiphany through Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) ending at the season of constraint and introspection, Lent – the forty days leading up to Easter.
Nowadays this period has become popularized as a season of exuberant celebration of excess exemplified by Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carneval in Venice and Carnival in Brazil and many Latin cultures. Among the common themes that are celebrated include feasting, fanciful costumes, unrestrained dancing and the disregarding of social class by mingling or piercing social strata. First Friday invites all attendees to join, embrace and channel this energy into the February event, “Carnival.”
Originally scheduled to be a part of the January event, First Friday welcomes back the Las Vegas First Friday Poets after a six-year hiatus from the First Friday scene. This esteemed group of Valley poets return, giving the wonder of spoken word its due acknowledgment within the artistic platform that is First Friday. Featuring widely-published performance poet Lee Mallory and local poet-host Lana Hanson, a variety of local poets are set to dazzle audiences with their media and messages on Colorado Ave., between Third St. and Casino Center Blvd. This February, both well-known and emerging artists will embrace the “Carnival” theme in Arts Row, running down Casino Center from Colorado to Charleston. The Arts District also features a variety of arts and crafts vendors made popular in The Bazaar.
First Friday exists all over downtown Las Vegas, and there is a different feeling that pervades in the area during the event. This sense of wonder and creative energy has expanded to the Fremont East area both before and after each First Friday event with engaging arts, crafts, bands, and food and drink specials at Fremont East locations. First Friday – Fremont wants people in the community to experience the First Friday feeling of creativity and inspiration no matter where they are downtown, and to both start and end their night with a feeling that is memorable.
First Friday Las Vegas thanks event sponsors including 24 Hour Fitness, Tavorro, Health Plan of Nevada and Titan Auto Insurance.
FIRST FRIDAY HOURS OF OPERATION: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Shuttle service will run from 4:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Four Open Top Sightseeing Shuttles and an additional handicap equipped shuttle will make a constant loop around the entire First Friday route.
For Handicap Transportation to event, please call: 702-736-6491
Fremont Route Shuttle Stops:
* El Cortez- pick up and drop off on 6th St. across from the El Cortez valet entrance
* Container Park
* Arts District Hub at Colorado and Main
Paid parking option is available at the Ambassador Parking Lot (llama lot) on the North side of Fremont Street between 8th and 9th Street.
Parking is also available for $3 at Symphony Park with shuttle service to First Friday Las Vegas from Promenade Place and Clark.
The Government Center is NO longer available for free parking for First Friday attendees.
**If you park in unauthorized parking areas, you may be subject to towing.
ABOUT FIRST FRIDAY LAS VEGAS
First Friday Las Vegas has been a mainstay of arts and culture in downtown Las Vegas for 12 years and has become the leader for family-friendly activities, art, cultural enrichment, educational efforts, imagination, community and more; mostly low cost or free of cost, for every age. The outdoor event which averages 20,000 patrons each month features several areas throughout Downtown Las Vegas that showcases artists of all calibers and genres. Stages throughout the festival feature live music, food vendors and food trucks offer the finest in cuisine and other celebratory events each month are always working to build community in Las Vegas. First Friday Las Vegas, LLC’s Managing Partner is Joey Vanas. For more information on First Friday Las Vegas, please check the website www.firstfridaylasvegas.com, like on Facebook page or follow on Twitter.