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Friday's are Fabulous
story by Katherine Kipp
photography by Andrew McMurtie

January 25, 2007:  The Jackson Sun

Fridays are fabulous

Downtown merchants are part of a big party on the last Friday of every month

ANDREW MCMURTRIE/The Jackson Sun - Rachel Dickson's downtown gallery -  Dickson Gallery of Fine Art - is one of many businesses downtown that hosts events for Fabulous Fridays

We've all heard the complaints.

'There's nothing to do in Jackson.'

'Jackson is boring.'

You get the idea. For several years, Jacksonians have complained about the nightlife - or just Jackson in general - not being as exciting as other cities.

Those complainers might be surprised if they happen by downtown on Friday night.

Fabulous Fridays, an event started in July 2005, takes place at the end of every month, offering a night of cultural and social delight.

'Participating businesses downtown stay open late and many offer live music, refreshments and adult beverage. Often times you'll hear live music on the streets ... every month is different,' said Rachel Dickson, owner of Dickson Art Gallery, who has participated in the event since the beginning.

It took the event about a year to catch on, said Mary Bearden, director of Jackson Downtown Development Corporation.

'It's quite a popular event,' she said. 'We ask the merchants downtown to stay open and provide a special event that encourages people to walk around and visit the different establishments.'

Each month has a different theme and has 'become a sort of a social event that people look forward to,' she said.

Every business located downtown is encouraged to participate, but the final decision is left completely up to the business owner. Dickson said her business has been a major part of Fabulous Fridays.

'I work really hard to promote our specific events every month (which is usually an artist opening) that, of course, feeds the attendance to others,' Dickson said.

'Fabulous Fridays offers a chance for people to see what downtown has to offer,' Bearden said. 'We want them to realize how well-lighted and safe downtown is.'

'Fabulous Fridays generates awareness, interest, and a buzz about the changes going on downtown,' Dickson said. 'We as downtown business owners realized that it was unlikely that people would simply think to come downtown unless we created a monthly reason for them to ... and then after a good impression we knew they'd return ... hopefully with friends and family.'

The only danger downtown this Friday will be of the fictitious variety: A murder mystery presented by Premier Players. The play - 'Miss Milestones Means Murder' - 'is absolutely a fun, fun show,' said Phillip Collins of Premier Players.

'The talent is a hoot and we encourage all the Queens around who have been winners to come,' he said. The press release for the play also mentions that former beauty queens are encouraged to wear their crowns and banners.

'Sometime during the night, there'll be a murder, and all the people will be asked to be involved,' he said. 'We let people get as involved as they want to get. It's a good night of fun.'

The Premier Players, which consists of about 15 to 20 actors, not only performs murder mysteries, but will crash parties as well.

'If you want two hillbillies to show up at a wedding rehearsal, we got you covered,' Collins said, who plays about five or six characters himself. 'We travel, wherever we need to go, if the time and the money are right. We even went to Vegas last year.'

Collins said they usually perform their plays, which they all write themselves, for corporate parties.

'I'm excited about performing for the public, it's one of our funniest shows,' he said.

'The first show we ever did downtown in The Baker's Rack was such a success,' Collins said. 'It's quite entertaining to go downtown Friday night; it's a good thing ... The event has really made downtown wonderful and needs to happen all the time.'



When: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, January, 26th

Where: Downtown Jackson

Participating businesses:

  • Artopia, 575 S. Royal St. - Recently installed art displays and newly opened shops.
  • Art Under a Hot Tin Roof, 114 Lafayette St. - The work of Andrew Bucci is on display, featuring watercolor figures, abstracts and landscapes.
  • Baker's Rack, 205 E. Lafayette St., with Premier Players - ‘Miss Milestones Means Murder' dinner theater. Call 424-6163 for reservations.
  • Dickson Gallery of Fine Art, 118 E. Lafayette St. - 'Meet the Artist' reception for 'Refrigerator Art' collection. Artists include Jai Johnson, Janice Sumler, Dana Brooks, Libby Lynch and Pat Patrick.
  • The Ned, 314 Main St. - The Children's and Teen Theatre Awards and Reception. Call 425-8396 for reservations.
  • Downtown Tavern, 208 N. Liberty St. - Brandon Lewis Band performs. Tell the bartender you're there for Fabulous Friday, and your first beer is on the house.
  • Marguerite's Fine Art Gallery, 124 E. Baltimore - Continuation of "Galleries A Go-Go."
  • Other businesses with extended hours: Quiznos, Shooter's, The Guesthouse, Dixie Castle, Lola's Bar & Grill and Popeyes.

For further information, call 427-7573. You may also visit www.downtownjackson.com.




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