Ladies and gentlemen, The Greatest Show on Earth has arrived! Witness fire eaters, acrobats, clowns, and beasts from every corner of the earth performing for your visual delight! Blackbird Studios is proud to host a group art exhibit featuring amazing artists from Las Vegas and around the country (including one wee painting by your frugal hostess!) The Greatest Show on Earth is inspired by the circus, carnivals, and freak shows from the Dust Bowl era, and opening night will sprinkle in some live acts and musicians among the excellent artwork.
Just one of many galleries, we'll start at Blackbird, then wander the festival at your own pace, or if you'd like to walk as a group, meet at Blackbird around 6pm and Cynthia will depart at 6:20pm -- walking up Casino Center Blvd past Charleston, loop thru Arts Factory (esp for CAC's Annual Juried Show), Art Square, Momas & Dadas, and the dirt lot of craftizens, then back to the cars (with maybe enough time to hit Fremont East?)
Bring: Good walking shoes (could add up to several miles), a bottle of ice-cold water, and plenty of cash, baby! Some people dress in fancy outfits, some wear fun, outlandish accessories, some wear as little as possible, others slum it in tourist garb ... I'll leave it up to you how fabulous you want to fit in. (Hint hint. ;-) You can bring your own food and drink, or they have lots of food trucks and vendors.
First Friday is the monthly street festival in the downtown Las Vegas 18b Arts District, to celebrate arts and crafts, live music, food trucks, recycling, graffiti, kids in funny hats, parking tickets, and steady commentary on how it's going to be too hot soon. It's a crazy night with thousands of people, and it's the complete opposite of partying on The Strip -- yay!
Hot Tip: If you love art but hate the crowds, the night before First Friday is called Preview Thursday, and all the best galleries stay open late to premier the new shows, so you can do an actual "art walk" and have a conversation, minus the shouting and shuffling that "seeing art" has become on First Friday. ;-) Usually I much prefer Thursday night to Friday night, but this time I'm in the mood for a literal "circus"!
PARKING: I prefer to find free street parking on the south end of the festival, on Wyoming, Utah, or Commerce. With so many people down there, I'm not too worried about security walking a few blocks. If you arrive early enough, you can try the north end by Arts Factory, but that lot is a madhouse by 6. I can usually find free street parking that way on Coolidge or Hoover (which are totes safe, despite the urban appeal of graffiti houses like Momas and Dadas New Genres Project House - which is one place I must stop by for Matthew Couper's Disco Inferno!) Definitely DO NOT PARK IN NO PARKING ZONES (or questionably free or empty private lots, because they are a big risk for a ticket or tow!)
First Friday FAQ site has a whole guide to parking and the free shuttle bus system at http://www.firstfridaylasvegas.com/UserFiles/Uploaded/cms/parking.pdf