Aurora's First Fridays to offer activities for teens and kids May 7

  • On May 7, 1 E. Benton will be open with artwork on display by three local artists during First Fridays.

    On May 7, 1 E. Benton will be open with artwork on display by three local artists during First Fridays. Courtesy of Joseph Weber

Updated 5/4/2021 12:47 PM

First Fridays will feature nearly two dozen venues open with art, music, and more on May 7. The monthly event returned in April after going virtual for some dates last year.

May's event will have something for everyone, and includes more than a handful of activities geared toward kids and teens.


The Alive Center for Teens, 78 S. LaSalle St. located inside Community Christian Church, will participate in First Fridays for the first time with a Hot Wheels Super Track Race. They will have a track setup for racing the cars on the sidewalk. The new teen center will also be giving tours from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

APS Training Academy, 105 E. Galena Blvd. located on the fourth floor of the First Midwest Bank Building, will host a S.T.E.A.M. class open house from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Students in kindergarten to 12th grade can play the Among Us online game while exploring what free classes are available at APS Training Academy.

Also inside the bank building, French 75, a new cocktail lounge coming to downtown, will pop up on the third floor for a sneak peek from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The new lounge and art gallery will feature artwork by its owner Hope Ashworth.

Food trucks will park at the lot adjacent to the bank building at 2 S. Broadway from 5 to 9 p.m. Joining the lineup will be Harvey's Fire Box, Grumpy Gaucho, Da Pizza Dude, Holy Pierogi, and Home Run Dogs. Food vendors are subject to change. Please check Aurora Downtown's Facebook page for updates.

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First Fridays will continue through December with the exception of July.

On May 7, a variety of venues will offer the following mix of activities:

• Artesan Lofts Gallery, 2 S. Stolp Ave., will be open with the Doug Jeppesen Combo jazz band. Resident artists display their work from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

• Gallery 1904, 1 E. Benton St., will feature gallery show "Nature: POV x 3," with media art and photography by local artists Mary Rodriguez, John Stark, and Helen Ratzlow from 5 to 9 p.m.

• Gary Brown Art Gallery and Studio, 7 S. Broadway, will host "Burst of Colors," monotype art by Maureen McKee along with live music from 5 to 9 p.m.

• Aurora Tap House, 134 W. Downer Place, will feature comic book illustrator Billy Barnette from 5 to 9 p.m., and then DJ HappyMeal plays 1980s tunes starting at 9 p.m.


• McCarty Mills Taproom, 140 S. River St. Unit 108, will feature Artist of the Month Laura Lynne Art until 10 p.m.

• Simply Destinee, 122 W. Downer Place, will host Cinco de Mayo Kids offering an art club, dancing, and open mic for students from 5 to 8 p.m.

• The Riverfront Playhouse, 11-13 Water Street Mall, will host "Live Music with The Heels" from 6 to 10 p.m.

• Altiro Latin Fusion, 1 S. Stolp Ave., will feature live music from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

• Tavern On Broadway, 24 N. Broadway, will be open with live music by Olivia Ports from 6 to 10 p.m.

• La Quinta De los Reyes, 36 E. New York St., will host a Cinco de Mayo party from 6 to 9 p.m. with Elvis impersonator Michael St. Angel starting at 6:30 p.m.

• Creaciones Morelos, 14 N. Broadway, will celebrate spring with additional discounts on Mexican artisans. Open until 9 p.m.

• The Perch, 31 W Downer Place, Suite 301, will host a Spring Sale and Kid Craft. Greeting cards, mindfulness resources, spiritual wellness gifts, and self-care products on sale. Plus kids can make a free meaningful gift for mom from 5 to 8 p.m.

• Paramount School of the Arts and Paramount Theatre, 20 S. Stolp Ave., will host a Mother's Day market from 5 to 9 p.m. with jewelry, face masks, home accessories, and more from Paramount staff including Theresa Ham, costume designer; Jesse Gaffney, props designer; Anne Hauge, Paramount costume shop; and Abbie Reed, former Paramount draftsperson.

Wyckwood House, 14 W. Downer Place, will stay open late during First Fridays with local artisans offering gifts for Mother's Day.
Wyckwood House, 14 W. Downer Place, will stay open late during First Fridays with local artisans offering gifts for Mother's Day. - Courtesy of Joseph Weber

• Wyckwood House, 14 W. Downer Pl., will be open late with specialty gifts for Mother's Day from local designers and makers. Custom gifts by calligraphy artist Lisa Johnson and Jess and Sammy from Slate and Clove offering all natural bath and body products and custom prints from 5 to 9 p.m.

• Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway, will be open for a video game night with Windy City game theater featuring over 100 different video games along with Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo switch. The museum will be open from 5 to 8 p.m.

• Happy Thoughts Suicide Awareness Outreach, 31 W. Downer Place, Suite 212, will host The Pride Project: Registration for our Youth Development Program from 3 to 8 p.m. Candles will also be available for sale.

• The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange, 8 N. Broadway, will host "It's a A Spring Thing" pop up along with live music by Frankii Davis and Jazzquatch from 6 to 9 p.m. Book signing by Devan The Artist, on-site engraving by Meaningful Letters, and baked treats for sale by Christy's Little Bakery.

• Society 57, 100 S. River St., will be open after hours with Mokuso Pop-Up featuring cocktails and Japanese skewers from the grill from 6 to 9 p.m.

• Offbeat Thrift & Vintage, 14 W. Downer Place, Suite 16, will host "Ruby Retro," secondhand housewares and clothing with a retro flair from 5 to 9 p.m. in the basement.

• All Spoked Up, 14 W. Downer Place, Suite 10, will feature Trash Kween pop-up shop. Shop Trash Kween offers, styled, curated, and altered, vintage clothing, and accessories from the 1960s to present from 6 to 9 p.m.

For those looking for a crowd-free experience, First Fridays will offer the following:

• Chalk the Mall at Water Street Mall between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard. Bring your own chalk and draw on the concrete to create chalk art along Water Street Mall near city hall.

• The Aurora Historical Society will feature a historical baseball storefront display highlighting Aurora's baseball history with historic photos and artifacts at David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place.

Masks are required indoors. For more information on First Fridays events, visit

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