OTTAWA - The Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce is organizing a new event this summer for area residents. Ottawa First Fridays are kicking off on June 7. The Farmers Market will be in correlation with the First Friday events too, as a way to bring in more people. In the past, the Farmers Market was held every Saturday. This year it will only be held during the First Fridays events beginning in June and ending in October.
Executive Director of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce Amy Sealts shared some of the ideas they have for the upcoming event. "We are hoping to get different food venues, family activities and live music to go along with the events," she said. The Chamber is looking for a variety of vendors for the Farmers Market. "We want anything from handcrafted jewelry to doll clothes; Farmers Markets aren't just about fruit and vegetables anymore," said Sealts.

Each event will offer a unique family activity, the first being "Touch-A-Truck," which is an up-close, hands-on experience for children and their families to explore service vehicles and larger-than-life equipment usually seen from only far away. Different vehicles will be available from businesses in the area for children to learn about. The YMCA is also going to hold a sport activities section for kids to play different games at the June 7 First Friday event.

Downtown businesses will also be participating in the action. Some will have sidewalk sales and others will extend their hours for the day. The Schroeder Center for the Arts and Cavern Club Winery will be hosting special events as well. "The whole premise is to bring people to the community with family activities," said Sealts.

Other family activities possibilities include, dance and cheerleading event, car cruise, petting zoo, a caricature artist, and pumpkin painting and carving in the fall. The Ottawa First Friday events will take place on June 7, July 5, Aug. 2, Sept. 6, and Oct. 4. The event is free and open to the public and the hours are 4 to 7 p.m. in downtown Ottawa at the municipal parking lot. For more information or to register a service vehicle in the Touch-A-Truck event or to register for the Farmers Market visit to fill out a registration form. Go to the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce's Facebook and "Like" for the most up-to-date information about Ottawa First Fridays.