Easter may be long over, but the DoMo First Fridays night market still has plenty of Easter eggs to share.
Organizers with the Downtown Modesto Partnership (DoMo for short) see the community market, now in its third year, as a good way to engage people with everything available in the city's center. Part of that is creating fun interactive "Easter eggs," or hidden features, for folks to find while walking around downtown.
"We just like to surprise people. It helps to interrupt our habit of thinking negatively about places and spaces," said Stephanie Burtch, DoMo marketing and events manager. "Our organization is all about improving the quality and quantity of human activity and exchange in the downtown area."
DoMo kicked off its 2018 season in May in conjunction with the popular Star Wars Day celebration at Tenth Street Plaza. Held the first Friday of every month through October, the market has evolved since its first season. Then it was a weekly Thursday night farmer's market, but last year it switched to be a monthly showcase for local artists, crafters and other "makers" in the community.
The market currently has about 36 vendors, including a few food and snack vendors. They range from handmade jewelry to custom bath and beauty products, clothing and artwork. The event will also run simultaneously with the free Music in the Plaza concert series.
To help publicize the market and DoMo's activities, a proliferation of street art and activities have popped up around downtown. They include a chalked "DoMo First Fridays" rainbow logo which can be seen on various city streets. Last season the group experimented with a few chalk images, but Burtch said they've ramped up their activities this year.
In March the group chalked hopscotch boards and brought out oversized games for people to play with. Other projects include stenciling inspirational phases, like "You Are Magic" and "Treat Yo Self," onto downtown sidewalks. More recently the group has chalked flowers onto the intersection of J and 11th streets to promote the new proposed changes for the thoroughfare.
Burtch said people should look for more little Easter eggs on downtown city streets as First Fridays continues through the summer. For June, which is also Graffiti Summer month across the city, watch for some "American Graffiti"-themed extras. The market will also feature a car show and salsa dancing.