The City of Shafter held its inaugural First Friday event last week, attracting hundreds of people to downtown Shafter.
Centrally located at the downtown square, the event had numerous vendors, music, food and entertainment. Included in the entertainment was a dance performance by a group of seniors from Shafter's Walker Senior Center. Dressed in colorful costumes, the group danced to a traditional Spanish number, complete with streamer-covered batons.
The event was presented by the city's Downtown Business Development Committee, which has been meeting to find ways to revitalize the area. With residents wanting more from their downtown, the city delivered, holding this event and announcing that there will be many more to come.
Mayor Chad Givens said, "I was kind of criticized when I first suggested the idea, but just look at the turnout. What do you see? You see a lot of residents here with their families. Shafter has a very large number of residents with young families, and they are here enjoying themselves, instead of spending their dollars in a different city."
Several organizations were on hand at the event, including the Shafter Recreation Department, who is beginning their tennis lessons, tennis camp and a number of other activities.
There are a few days left for those interested in participating in the department's volleyball program. The deadline is June 16.
There was also a booth set up at the event to raise money for a Shafter girl who is battling leukemia. Italy Gonzalez is fighting the biggest fight of her life and there has been an outpouring of support for this special little lady. They raised money by raffling off a number of gift packages, including a five-pack Dodgers game package, a big screen television, a summer-time gift package, and many others.
One of the organizers, Daniella Trujillo, said that they had been receiving donations and support through so many people in town that it was very touching.
First Friday is the first in a series of events planned for this summer, including free concerts.