The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, the Events Resource Office and the 80+ members of the Village Business Association have been working collaboratively to establish Friday Nights in the Village. The summer events, to run from 5 to 8pm on Fridays July 10 through September 4, are geared toward drawing additional residents, as well as visitors, to the Village of Big Bear Lake. As outlined in a proposal before City Council this week, Tom Benson of Sotheby’s Real Estate made an appeal on behalf of the VBA, requesting $10,000 in the City’s Improvement Agency funds to be directed toward entertainment for Friday Nights in the Village, with entertainment to include musicians, jugglers, face painters and street performers and the possibility of family-friendly movies. Despite the thorough outline presented by the VBA, there was some dissension, as photographer and gallery owner Tim Wolcott addressed Council regarding the outside vendors proposed by fellow merchants. Wolcott said he had talked to 20 or more Village retailers who were against the idea of bringing in outside vendors during the Friday night events, as they would compete for consumer dollars. Benson did stress, “We don’t want to create a swap-meet type atmosphere; we want to create a nice, artistic atmosphere.” Councilmember Liz Harris, who serves as the Improvement Agency’s Chair, suggested that the vendor selection jury narrow their scope to include not just any vendors, but Big Bear Valley artisans. This proposal seemed to be met with agreement by all parties, and Council subsequently awarded the $10,000 to bolster the Friday Nights in the Village events. The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce has since announced that they have applications available for those local artists and entertainers who want to partake in the Friday Nights, which begins July 10. For what it’s worth, the Fawnskin Chamber of Commerce hosts First Fridays in Fawnskin (on first Friday evenings of the month), a program they implemented in the summer of 2008.
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