Taste of Downtown, one of Downtown Statesboro’s most popular First Friday events, finds itself on a second Friday after last week’s storm delay. Still from 5:30 until 8 p.m., the event features a self-guided tour with appetizers prepared by more than two dozen restaurants from all over town and served at more than 20 different downtown businesses.
To take part, purchase a wristband and location map for $5 at the tent on the courthouse lawn. The map shows the different businesses participating. Wristbands will be sold beginning at 5 p.m.
Of the monthly Friday evening events, only the Holiday Celebration in December is definitely larger, said Elena McLendon, event coordinator and office manager for the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority. Scare on the Square in October and Spring into Statesboro in April are popular festivals but not First Fridays.
The way the event merges savory restaurant food with downtown shopping keeps people coming back, McLendon said.
“Part of it is the food, but then it’s also the discovering of all of these cute little shops,” she said. “Women, we love to shop, and it’s just fun to walk around downtown and discover what we have in our community.”
Some men also love to shop, and children enjoy the event, she acknowledged.
Live music will be part of the evening. Drew Wiggins will be performing on the courthouse lawn, while Clayton Hackle’s Southern Crossroads band will be playing at Gee Da’s Table on West Main Street.
A third musical act, previously slated to play on East Main, won’t be there, McLendon said.
Instead, the landscaped alley at the Georgia Southern University City Campus will be in use for the 7-10 p.m. grand opening celebration at the Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts at 31 E. Vine Street, an expansion of the Averitt Center for the Arts. A grand opening for the GSU Business Innovation Group’s Fabrication Laboratory, or FabLab, is slated for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Besides overlapping timeframes with the innovation and art center grand openings, Taste of Downtown will be synchronized with a trek into downtown by Pokemon hunters. Georgia Southern’s Office of Leadership and Community Engagement is partnering with City Campus and the DSDA to host Poke’ Downtown Statesboro.
Pokemon Go augmented-reality mobile game enthusiasts are invited to gather at Sweetheart Circle on the GSU main campus at 4 p.m. to begin their journey. They will walk along the Blind Willie McTell Trail into downtown, using Lures at Pokestops along the way, said Urkovia Andrews, GSU assistant director for service learning.
“So then they get to downtown and they can participate in either Taste of Downtown or the Fab Lab opening or if they want to catch Pokemon downtown as well,” Andrews said.
Then the group will head back to the main campus along the Blue Mile, with further Pokemon capture opportunities, she said. It’s a way to bring more students into downtown for the evening, said Andrews and McLendon.
Host sites, restaurants
Taste of Downtown host businesses and organizations include American Roofing, the Averitt Black Box Theater, Averitt Center Main Gallery, Bellies Babies & Ballerinas, Children's Cottage-Jaxe & Grace, Colony Bank, Doodle Bugs, Eagle Creek Brewery, the FabLab, For this Child, Free Spirit Pottery, Galactic Comics, Humble Abodes, LA Waters Furniture, Lori Grice Photography, Madame Couture, Merle Norman, Pladd Dot Music, Rusty Runway, Sacred Space Yogi, Salon Cheveux and The Flowergirl.
Participating restaurants and food-related businesses are 40 East Grill, B&R Treasures and Treats, Boro Take Out, Boyd’s BBQ, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Cake & Cool Beanz, Chick Fil-A, Daylight Donuts, El Sombrero, Gee Da’s Table, Gnats Landing, Holiday Pizza, IRIS Catering, KFC, Kim’s Cheese Straws, Mellow Mushroom, Moe’s, Orchid Asian Restaurant, RJ’s Grill, Shugg the Painted Chef, Subway, Sugar Magnolia, Spikes at the Clubhouse, the Historic Beaver House, Uncle Shug’s Chicken Barn, Vandy’s and Wild Wing Café.