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Vancouver USA: First Friday art, music, wine and dine

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The First Friday Art Walk in downtown and uptown Vancouver, Washington is not to be missed. Each first Friday, even through the winter months, the businesses and vendors put out the welcome mat. This month, we started at Angst Gallery marveling at the stained glass and paintings by artist Isaac Smith.

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First Friday in April was time for Esther Short Park to show off the tulips as art and wine lovers made their way to an open house at the historic Slocum House. Inside, East Fork Cellars winery was pouring (for a $5 fee), artists were displaying their wares and the Steer Crazy band was entertaining. The chandeliers were ablaze and it all rolled together to make for a festive atmosphere.

Main Street was busy with the usual North Bank and Gallery 360 openings, but a surprise was to be had in each one. North Bank featured photographic art and Gallery 360 had a delightful harpist entertaining while art lovers enjoyed the spring exhibition of the Southwest Washington Watercolor Society.

There was even art inside Divine Consign, a great place for furniture and decor shopping. But a favorite of the evening was to be found at Rand Jeweler. Barbara van Nostern, a noted northwest water color artist, had an beautiful exhibit of Greek-themed art. Her exhibit took us to the warm, colorful villages of the Greek islands on a quick, but enjoyable art tour.

After spending most of the evening in downtown Vancouver, we started walking to Uptown. However, Charlie's Bistro beckoned. I was hungry and their marvelous Ravioli of the Day hit the spot. There was music by Sidestreet Reny and a festive vibe. By the time we made it to Uptown, Mon Ami was closed and the Cellar 55 entertainment was winding down. First Friday events generally run 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

As the weather warms, the Vancouver First Fridays get even more interesting. Vendors line the streets in downtown and musicians play on the corners. But no matter what the season, there is always something new offered for Vancouver's First Friday. Look for the Downtown Association's Hot Sheets for each event.

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