MOUNT VERNON — The joyful sounds of Jerry Weaver and the Good Times Jazz Band carried over the noise of a busy Main Street on Friday evening. First Fridays, a communitywide event, was held in the First-Knox National Bank parking lot and on Vine Street, between South Main and Mulberry streets.
Live music, great food, a car show, a moon bounce, a petting zoo and many local vendors were all a part of the downtown excitement, as family and friends teemed the crowded street. Downtown businesses also were open to welcome guests into their shops.
Drawing the imagination of many children, Rex A. Naylor, balloon artist and magician, kept a line of eager youngsters waiting to have their favorite animal come to life through balloon art.
“I like monkeys,” said Allison Amstutz as she held tightly to her pink monkey balloon.
She and her two sisters, Olivia and Claria, waited as Naylor twisted and bent the balloons to form the playful animals.
“I like coming here,” said Olivia. “It’s really fun. I get to see a bunch of my friends.”
“We’ve come here once before,” said her mother, Shelley Amstutz. “I think this is really nice. We don’t get a chance to be down this way very often ... [but] we’ll come down here again; this was fun.”
Sophia’s Petting Zoo was another big hit as people crowded around to see and touch the chickens, sheep, rabbits, a goat and a llama.
Ten-year-old Sophia Oster is the owner of the small petting zoo business. Her small business started out as a way to support a charity event, but as she brought more animals and gained more events, her business grew.
“I figured it would be cool to do [a petting zoo] for the Fredericktown Christmas Walk,” she said. “So I saved up a bunch of money and I brought the fences and the wood [and then gradual the animals].”
Oster’ family is also involved in her business and helps with each event.
Last year was Oster’s first year participating in First Fridays, and wanted to continue this year.
“I liked doing First Fridays. It was very enjoyable, except when it rains,” she said.