Downtown Marietta is preparing for First Friday, and May’s event promises to be fun for the whole family while raising funds for worthy causes.  With a nod to Kentucky Derby weekend, Marietta Main Street is hosting Marietta Derby on the Armory lawn, with festivities beginning at 5:00 pm.

Fourteen local businesses will be participating, each racing for a charity or local non-profit.  The event is sponsored by Dr. John Frye of Marietta Dental Works, and his “jockey” is racing for St. Vincent De Paul Society.   Competitors will actually be donning costumes, and the characters range from a unicorn to a T-rex to Betsy Ross.

The community is invited to “bet” on their “horse” by making donations to the various charities at the “gate”.  A special trophy will be awarded to the “horse” that raises the most for their charity, and the winner of the race will also be presented with the traditional Derby laurel.

According to Laura Pytlik, owner of Wit & Whimzy and chair of the First Friday committee, this event will be fun for families while supporting worthy charities and Marietta Main Street. “We encourage people to come to the race, enjoy the fun, wear your Derby hats, and just have fun while supporting the various non-profits.  Then take advantage of the late hours to visit the shops, businesses and restaurants that will be staying open for First Friday.”

Although people are invited to use their donations to bet on a “horse” at the “gate”, the competitors are also raising funds prior to the event.  For example The Original Pizza Place is racing for High On Hope Ministries, and they will be donating $1 from each Large Thick Pizza until May 4th.  In addition to Dr. Frye and The Original Pizza Place, the following businesses will be represented:  American Flags and Poles racing for The Salvation Army,  Jeremiah’s Coffee House racing for the Alzheimer’s Association, WV Chapter, Marietta Adventure Company racing for the Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival, Marietta Brewing Co. racing for GoPacks, Marietta College racing for Washington County Harvest of Hope, Peoples Bank racing for Hunger Solutions, Slice of Life racing for the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley – HSOV, The Cook’s Shop racing for Wash. Co. Suicide Awareness Society,  The River Town Grill racing for the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County and Washington State Community College racing for EVE, Incorporated.

Throughout the evening, businesses and restaurants will celebrate the theme with specials, promotions and in-store events.  First Friday is a monthly event showcasing, the best downtown has to offer with monthly themes that offer a variety of unique, fun experiences for our whole community to enjoy.