Gahanna's inaugural First Friday Arts in the Alley series will launch at 6 p.m. July 6 behind the Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St.

The Gahanna Area Arts Council is sponsoring the new festival with the purpose of involving the entire community.

The council's mission is to connect and enrich the community through participation in and engagement with the arts.

Described as a maker's market meets block party, each three-hour event will feature live music, local food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, and community groups, according to Christian Peck, arts council communications chairman.

"We believe every member of the community can be connected to the arts in meaningful ways, so we're inviting everyone, artist or not, to participate," said Juli Hess, secretary of the arts council board.

The events will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first Fridays of July, August and September in the alley behind the Ohio Herb Education Center.

The alley will be closed for the events, but the organizers have chosen not to close any streets.

"Our hope is that people will drive down Mill Street, see the festival, and decide to come join us," said Kevin Dengel, president of the arts council board.

"You won't be able to miss it, because we'll certainly be making some noise," he said.

The board hopes the "first Friday" concept will become a new Gahanna tradition, according to Peck.

If all goes well, the arts council plans to expand the program to include May and June next year.

"There's something in it for everybody," Peck said.

"This is more of a community festival than an arts festival. Even in our name, we're Gahanna first, arts second."

Hess said the board hopes the concept grows into a signature event in the city when the entire community comes together.

"Local businesses stay open late, vendors line the streets and our artists get the opportunity to really wow an audience," she said.

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