Orchard’s first ‘First Friday’ event draws big crowd 

Orchard’s first ‘First Friday’ event draws big crowd 

A good crowd filled the Orchard Shopping Center parking lot in Salem for the first-ever ‘First Friday’.  Photo by Bruce Kropp.

The Orchard Shopping Center’s first even First Friday event was a success.

A large number were in attendance for the event that featured a hot air balloon, music by Kevin Gamblin, and 11 food trucks with a variety of food.

Orchard Shopping Center owner Keith McNeil says he didn’t know what to expect.

“The food trucks and the balloon, what a crowd.  I’d hate to guess how many people showed up out here tonight.  I think everybody is ready to get out.  We tried to stay with social distancing and I see a lot of people with their masks which is something we need to pay attention to.”

McNeil is now moving forward with other events.

“We are going to try and do it again in September to see where it takes us.  We’re going to try and involve our community in some more events.  We are looking forward to September and October is going to be fun. We have some things in the work for October.  When the weather gets cold we’ll have to back off, but maybe we can ramp it up again in the spring.  It is exciting for me to be part of this.”

McNeil credits Jillian Williams of J Lane Boutique for starting the thought process for the event with the idea of wanting to invite several food trucks to the shopping center parking lot.   The idea grew from there, but McNeil said he was awake Thursday night wondering if anyone would show up.

Eleven food trucks and a hot air balloon all helped draw a crowd to the Orchard Shopping Center Friday night. Photo by Bruce Kropp.
The pilot of the Drifting Dolphins Balloon glows for the crowd at the Orchard’s First Friday. Photo by Bruce Kropp.