Every First Friday in downtown Marietta, Marietta Main Street hosts themed shopping nights and fun activities for families to enjoy in the heart of the city. April’s First Friday invites locals and tourists alike to the Downtown Peep Show, a creative display of marshmallow Peep sculptures created by or for area nonprofits to encourage visitors to make donations to the participating organizations.

April’s Downtown Peep Show is hosting 17 nonprofit participants, including the O’Neill Center, a nationally accredited multi-purpose senior center in Marietta who is celebrating their 35th year. Erin O’Neill, Development Coordinator for the O’Neill Center, has had her hand in three of the nonprofit peep sculptures.

“Personally, I love a good challenge and decorating with sticky marshmallows in a way that would attract shoppers to vote for us was a huge challenge. And very messy! But so much fun! I am looking forward to being out amongst people. I have been fully vaccinated and have just been waiting – like so many others – to be able to get out and enjoy a lovely spring evening downtown,” said O’Neill.

The O’Neill Center’s peep sculpture in progress

Another participating nonprofit is the BB2C Makerspace, a nonprofit on Marietta’s west side that provides a hands-on learning space open to all who want to explore a new hobby, skill, or career path. Jared Wittekind, Makerspace Director, is excited to share their sculpture and mission with the community.

“When BB2C Makerspace heard about this First Friday event, we knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to showcase what our collective group of creative people are capable of through a combination of collaboration and having access to the right tools and materials,” said Wittekind.

We’ve got a great lineup of high-quality organizations each doing important work in our communities and so we couldn’t be happier to be raising money to support their missions.

Cristie Thomas, Marietta Main Street

As the Downtown Peep Show is a fun, creative opportunity to bring families together and raise money for area nonprofits, downtown visitors are encouraged to stroll through downtown and find each sculpture and make a donation. All sculptures will be posted to a Peep Show Donation Page on Marietta Main Street’s website starting Saturday, April 3rd to encourage a week of giving in support of the nonprofits. Peoples Bank is matching the first $500 donated via this online web page.

Executive Director of Marietta Main Street Cristie Thomas is excited to support area nonprofits in this way. “We have been looking forward to the Downtown Peep Show since last year – this event was the only First Friday we truly canceled in 2020. And, this year, we’ve received a stronger response from area nonprofits than we expected. We’ve got a great lineup of high-quality organizations each doing important work in our communities and so we couldn’t be happier to be raising money to support their missions. We hope folks come out and donate on First Friday and continue to give along all next week through our website to each nonprofit,” said Thomas.

In addition to the Downtown Peep Show, many activities can be found on the lawn of the Armory including Kid Central, the Benny & Babe food truck, and activities hosted by sponsors.

A special highlight of April’s First Friday is a pop-up parklet coordinated and implemented by Sixmo City Services in partnership with Marietta Main Street. Downtown visitors can stop by the parklet in front of the Ketter Block building at 204 Front Street to experience one for themselves and share feedback with Sixmo City Services staff that will be on site.

The Benny & Babe food truck will be set up at the Armory

First Friday title sponsor Thermo Fisher Scientific will be set up with giveaways, displays, and a cryogenic storage unit used for long term storage of stem cells, vaccines, and viruses for cancer cell and more. The cryogenic storage unit will be used to freeze flowers to show how fast liquid nitrogen freezes things.

Cathy Johnson, Senior Administrator for Thermo Fisher Scientific, is looking forward to sharing with the community who Thermo Fisher Scientific is and what they do.

We feel it’s important to invest in downtown Marietta as it is a beautiful river town with room to expand its offerings to visitors and residents.

Cathy Johnson, Thermo Fisher Scientific

“We want to connect more with the community as many do not know who we are and what we manufacture. What better way to do this than to sponsor a First Friday event! This is our first time to participate so we are excited to be there. We feel it’s important to invest in downtown Marietta as it is a beautiful river town with room to expand its offerings to visitors and residents,” said Johnson.

Kids activities at the Armory during March’s First Friday (Michelle Waters)

In addition to the title sponsor, April’s First Friday welcomes two guest sponsors: the Benny & Babe food truck and Washington County Relay for Life. The Benny & Babe food truck will be set up at the Armory with brisket, pulled pork & more. Washington County Relay for Life will be selling luminaries and raising money for their organization with a peep sculpture on display.

Kid Central will once again be hosted at the Armory thanks to the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley and Artsbridge. Families and children are invited to create art out of peeps, receive giveaways, and snap photos with the Easter Bunny.

For more details about April’s First Friday events, including special events, shops open late, and more, visit Marietta Main Street’s Facebook Page.

To learn more about Marietta Main Street, upcoming events and programs, and future opportunities to sponsor downtown events, visit the Marietta Main Street website at: www.mariettamainstreet.org or email info@mariettamainstreet.org.

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