I remember hearing about places like Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore having an evening once a month in which people would walk around the downtown of the city and look in galleries, enjoy wine and conversation and just have fun. I used to say, "Wow, that sounds really cool. I'd like to do something like that."  Now I do that every First Friday of the month in downtown Scranton. I don't know how many years it has been going on. I can recall attending faithfully for about the last three years or so. When I first went I used to hope that enough people would support it so it would continue as a regular event. Now I'm thrilled to see that now only do people attend, the activities and places for art and other entertainment continue to grow.

The evenings are as colorful and fun as the different works of art on display. In June I went downtown by myself knowing that I would meet up with my friend Jean and her daughter, husband and kids later on. I attended POWER's white out event in front of the great new business Bella Faccias. Kind and talented artists Judith Youschock and Beth Burkhauser were painting T-shirts, hats, sneakers - any white piece of clothing you wanted painted. I wore a long-sleeve T-shirt and being the self-marketer that I am, I asked Judy to paint my business logo "Laugh to Live" on the front of my shirt and later returned to have the frog Wartz from my book "He's Not Prince Charming When..." painted on the back. I'm all about fun self-promotion and getting creative with marketing. I later headed to Lavish, another wonderful shop in downtown Scranton that has that touch of luxury and pampering, to see my dear friend Jack Puhl who does amazing paintings and now has his own line of soaps, lotions and candles at Lavish. As usual Jack was smiling and featured a new series of paintings that I really enjoyed. They made me feel at home. There were so many things going on in June that I didn't get to take them all in - and that's a good thing.

July was just as fabulous. I started off with a visit to two of my favorite women in the city: Kathy and Amanda Fox, the owners of Fanciful Fox - another wonderful local shop with hand made soaps and lotions, vegan products and fair trade items. Oh, and I cannot forget the original jewelry. My favorite item is a necklace made from recycled materials that is a silver apple with a green "seed" in the design. The Foxes have been so supportive of me and so many other people in the city that they deserve nothing but the best that good karma has to offer. After visiting them I walked over to Fidelity Bank on North Washington Avenue to enjoy Music for Models - a talented band with the great singer Tara Michel and Marko Marcinko (keyboardist and jazz drummer) and other members that I apologize for not knowing the names of because they deserve props to!  After enjoying some great tunes I walked down the street to Courthouse where the crowd was treated to the surprise flash mob dance in support of Marley's Mission. This fabulous group did a choreographed dance to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." It was awesome! I was so excited and wished I knew the dance steps they learned because my feet were moving. It was like a street dance party. The night could not end without visits to two of my favorite places to see art: ArtWorks and Afa Gallery - both on Lackawanna Avenue. There is so much energy in those two places that you can't help but become intoxicated by the positive energy emanating from the crowd. Of course, a glass of Chardonnay doesn't hurt either ( I advise everyone to drink responsibly of course and have a driver if you plan on imbibing a few glasses of wine).

If you've read this far then you probably already knew about this great event and just wanted to read someone else's perspective but if you're  a newbie, then I'm thrilled you read this far and I hope you'll head to downtown Scranton on August 5. Not only is that the First Friday Art Walk but it's also part of Scranton's Jazz Festival. Be sure to check out acts at The Radisson and all of the bars downtown like the Bog, the Banshee and countless others.