SMA first Friday event coming soon
By Susan Sargeant
The idea of a city-wide San Miguel First Friday was first brought to our attention by a person moving to San Miguel de Allende from Kansas City. “Why aren’t you guys involved in the First Friday Artwalk?” she asked. I replied that I was not at the Fábrica Aurora – where the event began in San Miguel. “But First Friday events are usually a city-wide event,” she said. “The point is to bring in enough people for everyone!”
Evidently, First Friday helped make Kansas City’s downtown, and several other cities destinations for tourists and residents alike. The idea took a little time to develop, but poco a poco, all the shops, galleries, restaurants, hotels, taxi companies, street vendors, and performers realized that a united city would bring visitors from all over. This event is ongoing and successful in towns all over the world.
When this was explained to us, it seemed like a no-brainer for SMA. The city already has a reputation for being an art mecca. We have seen the large tourist crowds come and go, with the running of the bulls. This event was able to attract over 20,000 people, perfectly color coordinated, while earning over $18,000,000 pesos in one day–without any advertising. What a coup! The problem with this particular event was that it was dangerous, inhumane, and attracted a young wild crowd.
The beauty of a city-wide First Friday event is that it is connected to the art world; therefore, attracting a more sophisticated crowd from surrounding Mexico cities: Monterrey, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, Guanajuato, and Mexico City. San Miguel now has several large parking areas, an established fair ground, and the Rosewood Hotel and Matilda have opened their doors. Many new businesses that are opening here in SMA appeal to a more affluent clientele.
The reason a city-wide First Friday event would be attractive, rather than having several small walks at different times of the month, is that a city-wide event would be able to attract a larger number of people from outside of our local economy. The First Friday concept has been tried and has proven to be successful, time-after-time, in all kinds of venues. Although it is called First Friday, this does not mean that the event would not continue throughout the entire weekend. First Friday is just an iconic name that people from other cities can relate to– larger crowds mean more business for everyone in San Miguel.
We understand that the Fábrica de Aurora has put in time, effort and advertising into the event. Their efforts would not be diluted; quite the contrary, they would be viewed as the leaders of the event, because they have proven themselves to be able to draw in 500-600 people to their events. Imagine: if every business in town, plus the city, along with Aurora, advertised this event in different places around Mexico. It gives us a set time and date each month to put our best foot forward, all over town. With proper planning and cooperation from all the different types of businesses in town, this event could insure that all of the San Miguel Allende would flourish along with our strong local government and our powerful new mayor.
As Riccardo Simeone of The Insider’s Guide to San Miguel says, “let’s work at having the biggest First Friday in Mexico! We have the town, the talent, the music, and the tourists. It will take about a year. Ciao.”