Hundreds of people flocked to The Shippensburg Station last Friday evening to enjoy some great food, drink, music and fellowship.

First Fridays rolled out the new Ticket to Downtown last week for visitors. Young volunteers wearing conductor hats handed out the free tickets to be punched at participating locations. Visit at least five of the 20 listed businesses and organizations during any First Friday event, return your ticket to the Shippensburg Station before First Friday is over that night, and be entered to win some cool raffle prizes. 

Brought to you by the Cumberland Valley Rail-Trail Association and the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the participating locations will have tickets for patrons to pick up. 

Participating locations include: Aloha Cafe, Appalachian Brewing Co., Cabin on King, Christ United Methodist Church, Coy Public Library of Shippensburg, Guerilla Tattoo, Holy Smokehouse BBQ, Krissy’s Blue Vase, Pague & Fegan Home & Hardware, Pizza House, Plum Baby, Raspberry Jam, Robert T. Henry Pharmacy, Sailors & Sirens Salon, SHAPE Gallery, Shippensburg Historical Society, ShippenStitch, The Shippensburg Station, University Grille and Whiskers Vintage & Vinyl. 

“We are always adding new things, and figuring out new ways to partner with the community,” Allen Dieterich-Ward with the Cumberland Valley Rail-Trail Council said previously. “Our goal is to turn First Fridays into a truly community-wide event. For us, the whole point is to develop the downtown. We are not trying to take business from other businesses; we want them to explore those other businesses.”

Lisa Grayson of Carlisle, who is running for judge in the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas, decided to check out the event last week with her friend, Judy Eichelberger of Shippensburg. They enjoyed some pork nachos from the Taco Trap House of Gettysburg and Uncle Eddie’s BBQ of Shippensburg, and some beers from Appalachian Brewing Co. The ladies also liked listening to the musical talents of Mitchell Burrows. They were also excited to check out some businesses they haven’t been to yet with their Tickets to Downtown.

“It’s been a wonderful event!” Grayson said. “This is all about slowing down, and enjoying your neighbor and the Rail-Trail. The nice, mellow music and great food.”

“I’m having a wonderful time,” Eichelberger added. “I enjoyed the food. The drink. I probably wouldn’t have come if my friend here didn’t text me. And I’m glad I met two new friends from Shippensburg!”

Grayson added First Fridays was the perfect opportunity for them to get together because they hadn’t seen each other in awhile.

Jenny Richardson and her husband met their friend, Jennifer Devlen, and her husband to enjoy the food and fellowship, as well.

Richardson said she thinks First Fridays is a “cool initiative.” They use the Rail-Trail often, and she follows the Shippensburg Station Facebook page.

Devlen said it was a great evening with great food and music, and a great opportunity to see familiar faces, and faces they haven’t seen in a few years. She added she would like to see some wine or cider added to the offerings at future First Fridays. 

Krissy Cressler of Krissy’s Blue Vase said, “I’m excited about the First Fridays Ticket to Downtown because I believe it will offer opportunities for the community to see all that the downtown has to offer. In the past, there have been a lot of people who have said, ‘There’s nothing to do or shop at in downtown.’ I believe this will offer an evening of fun every month and allows the community to take a walk downtown and see exactly what has been happening, and all of the new things that are coming to our area. It’s not easy to rebuild a town and a culture of shopping downtown locally. Nowadays, it’s so much easier to shop online. But, a lot of us in town are committed to seeing out community come together and truly support a downtown vision once again. And with the new Shippensburg Station and downtown ticket for First Fridays, I believe that we will start to see great growth and committed shoppers within our downtown community.”

Virginia Coover of Aloha Cafe said she wanted to participate to give people the chance to check out the cafe’s healthy, gluten-free menu, especially those who can’t make it to the cafe during normal hours.

“First Fridays is just one of many events that provides the surrounding area with the opportunity to come and enjoy local food, beverages and listen to some great musical talent with their friends and neighbors, or maybe even make new friends,” Wendy Forrester of the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce said. “When I attended the July First Friday, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with some people from outside of Shippensburg who came to check out the event, and found it to be a lot of fun! It's the perfect evening to slow down, relax and reconnect with a sense of coming together as a community.  With the addition of the Ticket to Downtown, it provides people with the opportunity to explore some of our community organizations, as well as to shop and visit with our local businesses. It also helps to develop Shippensburg as a destination area to visit. Our community really has a lot of amazing businesses and restaurants that are waiting to be discovered, and our local merchants are ready to welcome you. It's so important that we show a sense of community by supporting these businesses in order to help them succeed, thrive and grow. If you take the time to visit our merchants, you may be surprised at the unique experiences you will have and also discover that Shippensburg really does feel like home!”

Future First Fridays this year are scheduled for Aug. 2, Sept. 6, Oct. 4, and Nov. 1.

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