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Inaugural Fourth Friday event to launch March 25th on Tampa Riverwalk


A group of organizations is launching Downtown Tampa Fourth Friday on March 25, a new evening event celebrating the growing local arts and culture scene.

The event, which will take place from 4-9 p.m. the fourth Friday of every month, will focus on nine downtown cultural venues plus six to 12 restaurants located on or close to the Tampa Riverwalk. All are invited to visit one of the anchor destinations to get a free wristband, which includes complimentary rides on the new Pirate Water Taxi and special offers from participating venues and restaurants. For example, the Tampa Museum of Art will continue to offer “pay as you will” admission to all visitors on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. The March 25 kickoff will also feature participation by the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning at designated riverwalk parks.

Participants will be encouraged to park once and then take the riverwalk, Pirate Water Taxi or hop on a bike with Coast Bike Share to visit the various venues.

The idea for Fourth Friday grew organically from a collaboration between the Tampa Museum of Art, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Henry B. Plant Museum and the American Institute of AIA Tampa Bay, according to Donna Chen, Director of Marketing for the Tampa Downtown Partnership

“It’s totally grassroots. Back in the fall, these four downtown cultural attractions decided to help support each other’s First Friday events through cross-promotion,” says Chen. “From that collaboration, they said, ‘Hey, this would be a great idea to do on a bigger scale,’ and they reached out to the partnership for help.

“We corralled all our downtown attractions and destinations to discuss what we could do and started planning a recurring event to celebrate and tell the story of the growing, incredibly rich arts and culture scene we have in downtown Tampa.”

The group decided to build on the success of the “First Friday” event format, but agreed to choose a different week to avoid confusion. They landed on “Fourth Friday” as a distinctive brand that shares the advantage of alliteration, Chen says. 

“We’re very excited. We think this will be extremely successful. As the riverwalk expands, we want people to understand how the walkway is really like a string of jewels connecting world-class destinations along the way,” she says.

Although the event lacks a dedicated budget, Chen says Fourth Friday is supported by community partners including the Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk, City of Tampa, Visit Tampa Bay, Arts Council of Hillsborough County and Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts. Between the partners and participating venues, she says they pack a strong marketing punch through their combined efforts. 

“We’re all going to be promoting this through social media, press and our websites and regular communications. Together we have a very strong voice with a big megaphone. We can reach hundreds of thousands of people just through our combined social media outreach,” says Chen.

Hosting venues include:
 
Tampa Museum of Art
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
Stageworks Theater
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Tampa Theatre
Tampa Bay History Center
Henry B. Plant Museum
 
Setting up at host venues:
 
Florida Aquarium – Location TBD
AIA Tampa Bay – setting up at Tampa Museum of Art
 
Glazer Children’s Museum will not be participating this month, but plans to begin to do so in April.  

More details on the monthly events will be available at Fourth Friday, where visitors can sign up to receive updates by email. 

Read more articles by Elizabeth Taylor.

Elizabeth Taylor is a feature writer for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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