First Friday Poughkeepsie

A monthly food, art and music festival described by many as a “community movement,” First Friday Poughkeepsie is a city-wide celebration held in a new neighborhood on first Friday evenings from May thru October, and aims to increase awareness of the City and showcase it as a thriving, safe, and attractive place to live and do business. Scroll down to learn more about the people and businesses who make it happen!

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History of First Friday Poughkeepsie

It was the first friday of January 2016, the end of Mayor Rob Rolison’s first full week at work for the City of Poughkeepsie. The Mayor had campaigned on the promise to bring more business, more residents and more visitors to the City, and showcase everything the Queen City has to offer. His friend Anne Saylor and his transition team surprised him with celebratory cake that day, and that is when the idea was born.

On Friday, April 1, 2016, the inaugural First Friday Poughkeepsie was launched at The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, encouraging all in attendance to seek out restaurants, cafes and other retail establishments throughout the City and enjoy #FirstFridayPK specials.

It was a great success, and just one year in, the people of the City wanted more. So we organized a team of businesses to lead the effort, our founding sponsors - Rhinebeck Bank, R.L. Baxter Building Corp. and LCS Companies, along with an entire committee of dedicated volunteers and event coordinator Bianca Hendricks of RSVP by B. We launched our first street fair in August 2017, followed by three more monthly events, and just like that, a new era was ushered in for First Friday.

In 2018, we introduced new themes - Cinco de Mayo; Country, Blues & BBQ; and Around the World; new locations - Market Street, Waryas Park, and more food, more art! In 2019, we brought the energy to the Northside at Mansion Square Park, the Southside at Eastman Park and Walkway Over the Hudson!

Our average attendance ballooned to nearly 3,000 attendees per event in 2019! Who knows what the future holds for First Friday Poughkeepsie, but we owe it all to you, our community, our patrons, our businesses for making it possible month after month, year after year. See you on First Friday!

Our Sponsors

First Friday Poughkeepsie couldn’t be possible without our Founding Sponsors: Rhinebeck Bank and R.L. Baxter Building Corporation. Media support provided by Poughkeepsie Journal Media, iHeart Media of the Hudson Valley, DJ Smitty, Ross Media, RSVP by V and PKGO.

These local businesses and organizations have taken the lead in working with First Friday Poughkeepsie in making the City of Poughkeepsie a better place to live, work, and play!

Our Leadership


Michelle Barone-Lepore


My family, my career and music make me happy!

Senior Vice President of Marketing, Rhinebeck Bank


Don Minichino


Dragon Boat Champion. Mediocre runner. Weekend traveler. Fun Uncle.

Licensed Real Estate Agent, Houlihan Lawrence Commercial


Amanda Baxter


Don't wait for opportunity. Create it.

President, R.L. Baxter Building Corporation
Co-Owner, HERITAGE Food + Drink

Our Committee

Lorenzo Angelino, Esq., Law Offices of Lorenzo L. Angelino
Brian Apfel, Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media, Marist College
Jaime Bonura, Shadows on the Hudson
Nicole Fiore, Group Benefits Sr. Customer Service, Marshall & Sterling Insurance
Christopher Grant, Founder, Community Matters 2
Tim McQueen, Owner/Creative Director, Envyus Sound & Multimedia
Ryan Michael, Web Content Coordinator, SUNY New Paltz
Gabriel Morales, Assistant Project Manager, R. L. Baxter Building Corporation
Stefania Riccitelli, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Rhinebeck Bank

Bianca Hendricks, RSVP by B, FF Event Coordinator
Kate Rabe
, Marketing Inbound, FF Sponsorship Coordinator
Kathy Vacca
, City Government Laison