Arts + Entertainment

October 4th-6th (JMU’s Family Weekend) Hotspots

FW_Logo[1]It’s that time of year again, and I don’t mean that autumn has arrived.

This weekend, October 4th-6th, is Family Weekend for James Madison University. Parents and families will be flocking from all over to see that their child is indeed keeping up with their studies but also that they are enjoying themselves while living in Harrisonburg.

So what better way to spend your time while not on campus than by exploring the many awesome things going on in downtown this weekend?

Photo courtesy of the First Fridays Downtown Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of the First Fridays Downtown Facebook page.

Tomorrow, Friday, October 4th,  from 5-8pm, the monthly First Fridays Downtown art walk will be in full swing! More than 30 restaurants, shops, and boutiques will be joining in for the event by offering art exhibits, food specials, great shopping, and entertainment.

In conjunction with First Fridays Downtown will be the 2nd Annual Harrisonburg Parklet Project, an event where artists, activists, and citizens independently, but simultaneously, turn parking spots into “parklet” spaces – temporary, creative, micro-parks for people to enjoy. The Parklet Project is intended to promote design, creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interaction, generosity, and play. This project is modeled after the national PARK(ing)Day event started by REBAR, a San Francisco-based art and design collective.

The main objectives of this urban project are to:

  • spark awareness regarding the need for green spaces within urban settings
  • to stimulate communal, imaginative activity and conversation through the installation of a “parklet”
  • to illuminate the transformative power of the arts through the creation of outdoor installations while simultaneously stimulating critical dialogue about the environment

So while you’re wandering around and enjoying the First Fridays Downtown art exhibits, be sure to check out the Parklet spaces throughout downtown. Check out this PDF map of featured spaces and this overview of the 2012 Project in photos.

Afterwards, head on over to the Turner Pavilion for the finale of the Downtown Film Series 2013 season.

Downtown Film Series Student FlierFriday night will also feature the Downtown Film Series Farm-to-Table Night from 8-10:30pm at the Turner Pavilion.  With food tastings, cooking demos, and a panel of local food bloggers, farmers, and chefs, as well as food organizations and merchant vendors (including The Lady Jane, Larkin Arts, and The Polished Lady) to explore from 8-9:15pm, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Come hungry, because there will also be dinner and snack options available from the Blue Nile, Grilled Cheese Mania, and Strite’s Donuts. Beginning at 9:15, there will be a selection of short local food films.  And don’t forget to bring a blanket or chairs and cash for the vendors!

cover-downtown[1]Now for the rest of the weekend, I would suggest hitting up the following locations for some great food:

For breakfast, The Little Grill has an amazing menu, including many vegan and vegetarian options.

For lunch or dinner: if you are craving Asian-fusion or sushi, Beyond has you covered. Or if you’re looking for AMAZING burgers and beer, check out my dad’s favorite places, Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint or Billy Jack’s Wing & Draft Shack.

There are tons of places to check out that aren’t the typical chain food restaurant and offer the opportunity to show your parents a little piece of the unique Harrisonburg downtown. You may even have them wishing they were going to JMU so they could experience the downtown life all the time!

Kaitlyn Shields is the HDR Promotions & Social Media Intern for Fall 2013 and a senior Organizational Communication major and Writing & Rhetoric Minor at James Madison University.

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