With more business sponsorships, the event may continue to happen.
A longstanding tradition in The ‘Burg’s nightlife scene may be reaching its conclusion.
The individuals behind downtown St. Pete’s First Friday block party have used social media to communicate a temporary halt to this well-loved event.
“As much as we love this event and the history behind it, First Friday St. Pete is still paused for now,” the organizers of the event wrote on Facebook this week. “It costs $12,000 to put on the event (insurance, city sanitation and police, permits, production, etc) with no profit to our company, and with a lack of interest from local businesses to sponsor the event, much less larger sponsors, we do not have the funds at this time.”
The First Friday block party will not take place on December 1, adding to the canceled event in November. The fate of January’s event remains uncertain.
The post concludes by urging the community for additional business sponsorships, emphasizing that such support is crucial for the continuity of the annual party. The organizers state, “We all love the event, but it takes businesses sponsoring the event to make it possible.”
Kristen Lee, Director of Operations for Nightlife Productions, LLC, explained that her company has been covering financial gaps to host First Friday each month, but this model is no longer sustainable. Despite an offer from the City of St. Petersburg to relocate the event further west on Central Avenue, organizers express a preference for maintaining the historical location where First Friday has been held for over two decades.
First Friday, a nocturnal block party featuring live music, local vendors, and entertainment, has been a St. Pete tradition since the ’90s. Typically closing down Central Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets, special permits allow attendees to enjoy drinks on the street, patronizing the numerous bars and restaurants in the block.
The block party experienced a hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resuming in November 2022. Despite its eagerly anticipated return last year, Nightlife Productions, LLC encountered challenges related to sponsorships and funding.
Beyond drawing in locals and tourists to the vibrant downtown block, First Friday also served as a means to generate funds for local nonprofits each month.
Any local businesses in The ‘Burg that would like to sponsor First Fridays can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out via social media.