The streets of Allentown will be bustling with holiday shoppers and gallerygoers as part of this month’s Allentown First Friday event from 6 to 9 tonight. The festive affair, aimed at creating a bona fide arts and commerce district in the city’s quirkiest neighborhood, typically pulls out all the stops for its December event each year.

This holiday season is no different, with a dozen or so galleries participating officially or unofficially in the festivities, with live music at many galleries. The Indigo art gallery (74 Allen St.), is showing work by 20 Western New York artists, while Studio Hart (65 Allen St.), hosts its own holiday-themed group show. Not far away, Mundo Images (500 Franklin St.) has photography and other items by owner Ann Peterson. Buffalo Big Print (78 Allen St.) features watercolor landscapes by John Merlino, Starlight Studio and Art Gallery (340 Delaware Ave.) has its annual winter exhibition featuring its own group of artists with developmental disabilities, and the C.G. Jung Center (408 Franklin St.) has an exhibition by Carol Ann Rice Rafferty, whose work, she writes, is “on the bridge between fine art and craft.” On the western end of Allen Street, SP@CE 224 (224 Allen St.) the College Street Gallery (244 Allen St.) and the monthly art and music event Culture@Sample (242 Allen St.) will be hopping as well.

But the fun’s not all indoors: Friday’s event will also feature three site-specific light installations, courtesy of Squeaky Wheel and artists Tammy McGovern and Max Bernstein, at or near 244 Allen St., 59 Allen St. and 202 Allen St. There will also be roving carolers, carriage rides, a tree lighting near the Quaker Bonnet Eatery (175 Allen St.). And keep an eye out for St. Nick, who’ll be wandering Allen Street throughout the evening.


-Colin Dabkowski