The Scene

Celebrate Ottawa’s art, culture, food at Third Friday outdoor community events

Enjoy all that Ottawa has to offer at Third Friday, held once a month from May through September in the city’s beautiful downtown. The first Third Friday of the year is May 17 from 5 to 9 p.m., which is an hour later this season.

Local merchants offer later shopping, discounts, food and drink specials, kids activities, art vendors and more. New this year is mini-golf, in which participating businesses will be designated by a golf icon next to them, and will have a unique hole and an adjustable putter. Players can get their ball and score card at Open Space Art Gallery & Studios.

“This event is great for the whole family, as there are plenty of free activities for the kids like the Open Space Kids Create Tent and lots of fun stations for the kids to explore set up on the street,” said Amanda Weygand Zehr, owner of Open Space Art Gallery & Studios, which hosts the event. “We have handmade artisans showing their work, lots of sculptures created by local artists. The goal is to provide a family-friendly atmosphere for all ages to come and explore our downtown and everything Ottawa has to offer.”

Open Space began Third Friday in 2019 inside the gallery, and when the pandemic hit in 2020, Zehr brought the events out into the street.

“It has really taken off ever since,” she said. “I created this event as a way for local artists and small businesses in our community to be seen.”

The May musician is Jeff Manfredini, and May artists include Broke Glass Chick, Soul Candy Crochet, Grateful Clay, DSB Guitars, Sweet Escape Cookies and many more. Free ax throwing will be available at Extreme Throwing, and kids can get their faces painted with Kaylin Caricatures.

Participating businesses that will be open later and offer specials include Heartland by Hand, Prairie Fox Books, A Mess of Things, Infinite Charm, Earthly Muse, You’re Interior Motives, The Ottawa Bakery, Iconic, Small Dog Candle Co., RPS Toys, Hey Sweetie, PersonaliTee’s and Laurilea’s Unique Junk Boutique.

Restaurants offering special artisan cocktails or mocktails include R Grotto, Niku, The Beach House, The Lone Buffalo, Iniga, Saffron, B.A.S.H., CatsEye and Court Street Pub.

For more information about Third Friday, visit the Facebook page.

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows is the editor of The Scene, Shaw Local News Network's entertainment section. The Scene is your go-to destination for all things fun in Northern Illinois. Prior to The Scene, Aimee was the editor of the Kane County Chronicle for five years, and a freelance reporter for Shaw Media for four years.