This Friday evening, downtown Marietta will become a walkable art gallery with the First Friday theme of Downtown Peep Show. The event begins at 5:00 pm and participating businesses will be open late to display unique sculptures created from the beloved marshmallow Peep candy. Each business has partnered with a local non-profit to raise funds, and visitors can vote for their favorite sculpture by making a donation to the non-profit. Marietta Main Street will also post photos of the sculptures on their website for a week, to enable online donations to further support the charities.

Jennifer Tinkler, Marietta Main Street Executive Director, is looking forward to the event “April First Friday is one of my favorite events. We have created a unique way to raise money for several area non-profits. The creativity put into each sculpture is absolutely amazing.”

Last year, the peep sculptures ranged from giant tropical fish to fantasy frocks to humorous dioramas. Businesses and artists have been working on their collaborations, keeping the final designs a secret until revealing them during the friendly competition.

Laura Pytlik, the owner of Wit & Whimzy, is looking forward to the event and will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity. “This is a fun event, and a great opportunity to raise funds for all these worthy non-profits. Last year was kind of a learning experience for most of us, so we’re excited to be doing it again and I think people will really enjoy seeing the sculptures.”

Sneak Peek at ArtsBridge’s sculpture in progress (ArtsBridge)

Participating businesses are 740 Social with Noon Lions, American Flags and Poles with Salvation Army, Andy’s Toy Chest with Building Bridges to Careers, Hive Alive with GoPacks, Jeremiah’s Coffee House with Ely Chapman, The Original Pizza Place with North Parkersburg Baptist Friendship Kitchen, Over the Moon Pub and Pizza with Marietta First Church of the Nazarene Youth Group, The Cook’s Shop with Friends of Forgotten Felines and Wit & Whimzy with Habitat for Humanity. At Mid-Ohio Valley Employment, donations to the Humane Society will be matched by the business. Artsbridge will have their sculpture on the Armory lawn and the Marietta College Senior Marketing 432 Class will have a sculpture for the Marietta Community Foundation.

Although the Peep Show is the highlight of First Friday, there are many other reasons to stop downtown during the evening. United Way will feature Kids Central activities at the Armory, and the Sports Management class at Marietta College will be on hand to provide tailgating style games to promote their upcoming Community Days for Men’s Baseball and Women’s Softball. Many businesses will be offering discounts and special promotions, including live music. Over the Moon Pub and Pizza will be hosting Jake Binegar and serving up $2 slices of cheese or pepperoni pizza. On Putnam Street, Peoples Bank Theatre will host a free outdoor concert featuring the Sour Mash String Band beginning at 6:00 pm. At Jeremiah’s Coffee House, special peep lattes and treats will be available, and visitors can browse pop-up shops while listening to live music.

A sculpture from the 2021 Peep Show (Shannon Brown)

For those unable to attend the event Friday evening, some of the Peep sculptures will be moved to the Peoples Bank Lobby for viewing and voting, while others will remain in the businesses until next week. Donations to the non-profits will be accepted until April 9th.

Downtown First Friday events are coordinated by Marietta Main Street and take place the first Friday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. January through December. Highlights of these events include shops open late, local artists and musicians, area organizations, and various happenings tied into the theme of the First Friday.

Each First Friday is a celebration of our local community and an opportunity for locals, tourists, and area groups to show their support for our town, have fun, and enjoy the beauty of vibrant, historic downtown Marietta!