What to expect for First Friday in Norwich? A preview of January 2024

First Fridays in downtown Norwich have been held monthly for several years to bring residents together in an important and meaningful way, Norwich Events organization Treasurer Miria Gray said.

The Norwich First Fridays help bring attention to art and performance in downtown Norwich, also known as the Chelsea Arts District, Gray said.

“The community really does come together for First Friday,’ she said.

First Fridays also do a good job at bringing people to the city from elsewhere making them aware of the arts and businesses in the city, Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Angela Adams said.

File photo of Lights Out for Benedict Arnold from 2020.
File photo of Lights Out for Benedict Arnold from 2020.

However, there are still some who are unaware of the First Fridays, which is why the Norwich Events Organization took over the event last year to help promote other activities around the art gallery shows downtown.

“I think this is going to grow and grow,” she said.

Here's how Benedict Arnold will be honored in his hometown on this birthday

For January, First Friday will include the yearly ceremonies for Norwich native Benedict Arnold and an art show from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Norwich.

Arnold, the infamous Revolutionary War hero turned traitor, was born in Norwich on Jan. 14, 1741, and the city acknowledges him around his birthday every year. On Friday, the lights out ceremony at Norwich City Hall will be hosted by the Norwich Historical Society, and take place from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. Afterward, there will be Benedict Arnold-themed drinks served in downtown establishments and the Historical Society will be passing out Benedict Arnold-themed pins saying “Hometown Hero,” or “Hometown Zero,” Gray said.

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Unitarian Universalist Congregation art show features Rev. David Horst and more

With the Creative Way, the Unitarian Universalists are showcasing creative works, including photography, painting and writing from its congregants and Rev. David Horst. Unitarians draw their faith from many sources, from scripture to life experiences, to nature and arts, he said.

“Having art in our worship and gathering space is a part of who we are,” Horst said.

Horst and four of the congregants, Karen Coombs, Susan Parish, Wendy Shanahan, and Jeannine Smith, worked together through “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. The group began in the fall, and they’ll begin 2024 with the First Friday event at 6 p.m.

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During the 10 a.m. service on Sunday, Horst plans on preaching on the art.

“I think there is some spiritual and religious meaning,” he said. “At least that’s the way I look at art.”

It's important to have the display ready for First Friday because the Unitarian Universalists want to be active downtown, and have a chance to show what Unitarian Universalism is, Horst said.

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With The Creative Way, “the more the merrier,” Gray said.

“If more people and organizations did what they’re doing, (First Fridays) would become a better and better event,” she said.

How much are tickets for First Friday events

The events are free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.

This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: Norwich First Friday: Here's the plan for Benedict Arnold's birthday