After Strengthen the Vine First Fridays was cut short last year due to COVID-19, excitement is building for its return this year.

First Fridays at the 18th and Vine Jazz District will return March 5, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., featuring vendors and artists inside a number of the district’s businesses including the KC Juke House, Soiree Steak and Oyster House, the Corner Bar and Grill and Velvet Freeze Daiquiris.

Vendors and artists will also be featured inside the R&R Creations event space and the Historic Lincoln Building, where guests can check in to participate in games and drawings from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

While Mayor Quinton Lucas lifted restrictions on business’ hours and group sizes, social distancing and face mask guidelines will still be enforced at First Fridays.

Makeda Peterson, organizing director of Strengthen the Vine First Fridays said this year they are planning to showcase local businesses and entrepreneurs more creatively. 

To be more engaging, they’re planning on featuring a local hair braider’s work with models showcased throughout the district.

“We’re tapping into more creative ways to network and showcase what our businesses are doing, especially because everyone's had time this year to redevelop, restructure and re-envision what their businesses can do,” Peterson said. “Now we’re just excited to open up and to share all the amazing products and things we have come up with.”

Other vendors set for March 5 include Godly Fine Wines, providing wine tastings at R&R Creations and games by Ultimate Game Night.

First Fridays are still accepting vendors. Sign up for a date at their website here: https://www.juneteenth-kc.com/first-fridays.

Artists who want their work featured can email work samples to: Juneteenthkc@gmail.com.

Peterson, who is also the director of KC Juneteenth, said the committee has begun meeting about programming for this year, which marks the 10th anniversary of KC Juneteenth. While final decisions will be made at the end of March, Peterson said they’re hoping for an in-person celebration.

For anyone who is interested in creating programming in the community, Peterson said they are always looking for new ideas. Send an email to: JuneteenthKC@gmail.com

“We can definitely hit the ground running with any ideas that the community has on how we can have an amazing year, especially with getting back to some sense of normal,” she said.

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