GOSHEN — The weather may have been cold and wet, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of some young families attending Goshen First Fridays for the first time.
Abigail Plank of Elkhart was attending for the first time with her 20-month-old daughter Amelia, and they had visited some stores, decorated pumpkins, and watched some magic. Then they seamlesly enjoyed a mother and child balancing act next to the Electric Brew. Amelia practiced steps on a curb while managing to wrap her child leash around a bike stand as her mom attempted to keep things untangled while balancing a warm caffeinated beverage. “We’ve heard all about it. We finally made it out on the coldest day. It’s beautiful though. It’s nice to get out,” said Plank.
Justin Shively and his wife Elena Pacania have been Goshen residents for ten years. They were attending First Fridays for the first time with their children Juliana and Nolan, and by the looks in the eyes of both children and parents as they watched a family entertainer and magician on East Washington Street, the miserable weather was the farthest thing from their minds.
Shively said that the family had enjoyed a horse buggy ride and participating in children’s activities. “It’s a little rainy, but that won’t bring us down,” said Justin.
“We’ve noticed advertisements and things in the newspaper for it, but haven’t had an opportunity. So I thought what better time than a nice crisp fall Friday to go witness some of the things that were in the newspaper that I saw were going to happen,” said Shively.
Lavender Jazz, Goshen College’s big band, played two sets on East Washington Street as part of Goshen College’s annual alumni weekend, which tied in nicely with the Oktoberfest theme of First Fridays that was in full swing, just like Lavender Jazz.
Children decorated miniature pumpkins as their parents watched with eyes almost as big, families enjoyed tasty bratwursts, and on West Washington Street there were “Oktoberfest Feats of Strength!”
The strength tests included a log sawing contest, an arm wrestling competition, and a nail hammering contest, among others.
Earlier on the Elkhart County Courthouse lawn, the Elkhart County Women’s Shelter was bringing awareness to domestic abuse with their Clothesline Project, which featured more than 70 T-Shirts designed with messages of hurt and healing by affected local women and children.
Carrie Zickefoose, the director of the shelter, said “they write poems, words, and put illustrations to give voice to their experience. They are messages of hope, pain — messages to other women that are in this particular situation, and to let them know that their is sun after the rain.”