MANSFIELD, OHIO –Visions of summer concerts and outdoor festivities faded away with the prediction of six more weeks of winter. However, Mansfield’s First Fridays have the solution for delightful indoor mood boosters as well as some right brain stimulation. The area is rife with musicians, authors, and artists willing to help entice our endorphins into a creative, happy state of bliss during the colder months. Many of these activities and performances are free. It’s a great opportunity for College students to gather as well as anyone interested in immersing themselves in a night of urban entertainment. Downtown Mansfield has a number of activities taking place on any given Friday evening.
Relax, It’s Just Coffee, located at 105 North Main Street in the Historic Carrousel District, is a neighborhood coffee shop blending world class coffee with great art. Reminiscent of the old Seattle coffee houses, art work calls to you from the walls and live music soothes the soul. The initial concept of this charming spot was to provide an environment for those who love their coffee, tea, art, music, and community. It’s become a gathering spot for students as well as artists and offers entertainment on a regular basis. March 2nd, a First Friday Shop Hop Event, presents La Belafonte at 7 p.m. March 11th brings Sam Stahlke, Jeff Bell and La De Les at 6 p.m. Mark your April calendar for April 20th when The Death Rays perform at 7 p.m. Check out the website at www.relaxitsjustcoffee.com for a complete listing of the ongoing repertoire of entertainment, or just stop by, savor a cup of Joe, and enjoy a cultural immersion into all things relaxing.
Just across the street, Element of Art Studio/Gallery features local artist and musical entertainment on the First Friday nights, each month. It’s a great opportunity to mingle; share a little community, and an hors d’oeuvre or two. Element of Art’s mission is to reach out to the artist with developmental disabilities: offering these talented individuals a showroom to cultivate and display their work as well as generate opportunities for an alternate income. Art is displayed beautifully and can be admired and purchased. Live musical entertainment changes from month to month. Check http://www.eoastudiogallery.com to make sure you aren’t missing out on your favorite music and niche art.
Booklovers will enjoy a Friday evening at Main Street Books. First Friday nights often include local authors reading from their latest works and events such as “Wine and Words” are a frequent happening. You can join a book club or check into the frequent writing workshops taking place here. There is something to be said for the camaraderie of like-minded talent gathering to share, critique, and pick each other’s brain (the right side of course). Check out their Facebook page for updates on all of the great things going on at this charming downtown bookstore and more.
The Happy Grape, in nearby Lexington, Ohio features “Jeff Bell Tuesdays” from 7-9 p.m. Jeff is a mega talented artist, musician and songwriter, with a serious gift on the acoustic guitar. The Happy Grape is a cozy and inviting wine bar surrounded by beautiful brick, warm colors, and lively artwork lining the walls. Their selection of wines from around the world, beers and spirits is vast, and you are sure to find something that will become a personal favorite.
All of these venues are a great way to end a day, or herald in a weekend. Check the upcoming calendar on the Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website at www.MansfieldTourism.com for a comprehensive listing of happenings in this area.