by: Cliff Newell, 
Three very creative ladies are planning a gala opening for First Friday in Lake View Village. From left are Regan Donofrio, Mary Olund and Jan Mahood. The public is welcome to come by starting at 5 p.m. for fun, food, clothes and art.

Mark it on your calendars: Friday evenings are going to be big in Lake Oswego.

Beginning this Friday, May 4, the merchants of Lake View Village will be hosting 'First Fridays' from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

The basic idea behind it is for a good time to be had by all.

'Our whole goal is to bring awareness to the community,' said Regan Donofrio, owner of Meringue A Boutique. 'Lake View Village is a destination point. Lake Oswego has developed so much in the past few years. We've never had a chance to do this before.'

'Lake Oswego is such a great place,' said Mary Olund, owner of Grapevine and Merge. 'We have so much to appreciate here. In the past my husband and I have gone to Portland for a fun evening. That's ridiculous! We wanted to have something close to home for the surrounding communities, like Sellwood and Dunthorpe.'

The first First Friday will have a Mexican theme. Merchants will be decked out in Mexican clothes and serving up margaritas and snacks provided by Los Baez Restaurant. Stores will offer goody bags and discounts, and two bands will be playing. Parents will be able to drop off their small children at Play Boutique for a small fee.

Participating Lake View Village merchants and restaurants are:

n Meringue A Boutique

n Grapevine/Merge

n Oswego Lake Gallery

n Rumi Simone Spa

n Fusion

n DéVon's Beautiful Blossoms

n Sur la Table

n Bank of Oswego

n FiveSpice

n Pendleton

n Zeppo

The inspiration for this idea came from Oswego Lake Gallery, which has been holding First Friday events for the past two years. The first meeting of merchants was held three months ago when Donofrio suggested forming an association.

'We started meeting monthly, then we started meeting weekly,' Donofrio said. 'We decided we wanted our own event, something like the First Thursdays held in the Pearl District.'

'Regan has been like a little fire engine,' said Jan Mahood, director of Oswego Lake Gallery. 'She has put a fire under all of the merchants. We had First Fridays alone for two years, and now it's going to be great to bring in all of Lake View Village.'

First Fridays will be offering lots and lots of stuff for lots of people.

'This will be a community, family type of thing,' Olund said. 'We'll have art, but also music, fashion, beauty and flowers.'

First Fridays will be quite comfortable, because that is what the merchants have been offering all along.

'A good portion of the businesses are locally owned,' Olund said. 'We care about the community. We're not big box stores. We're independent, homey and comfortable. That's why our customers keep coming back. We make them feel comfortable.'

'We'll have an edge, too,' Mahood said. 'Some of the art will have an edge.'

Probably some of the music, too.

'We would like to have two to four bands every Friday,' Donofrio said. 'Especially as the weather gets warmer. We would like to have a band playing in all four courtyards.'

Art will be a big emphasis of First Fridays, since Donofrio noted, 'We're talking about the best art community around.'

But Lake Oswego folks don't need to be art lovers to show up and have fun.

'We'll have something for everyone,' promised Olund. 'Whether it's an art connoisseur or a mother and dad with kids in a stroller.'

The three women are excited about First Fridays since they have five months to try new ideas

'We have a lot of creativity,' Donofrio said.

The women are already so enthused about the project that they are already anticipating First Fridays growing next year.

'We're gaining momentum,' Mahood said. 'Other merchants will be joining. It's nice to have such a close location to gather around.'

'We would like to involve the rest of the downtown Lake Oswego area,' Donofrio said. 'We'll probably be going out next October to talk to people about it.'

Lake View Village is located on the corner of State Street and A Avenue in downtown Lake Oswego.

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