So what will happen in the Arts District come Friday?
Well, there won't be the fences that section off Casino Center Boulevard south of Charleston Boulevard for the First Friday Las Vegas street festival, because that event is shut down for the next two months.
There will be fewer portable toilets, so be sure to go before taking in all of the culture offered by downtown's galleries and neighborhood lounges, or prepare to wait in line.
As for parking? Street parking becomes free after 6 p.m. -- just make sure to read the signs to avoid being ticketed or towed. There won't be a shuttle from the Clark County Government Center, either.
And officers from the special event section of the Metropolitan Police Department don't plan to attend.
"First Friday has been placed on hiatus according to the promoter, so there won't be a need to have officers staffing that event," said Metropolitan Police Department representative officer Jay Rivera. "We won't be staffing that event until they resume it again."
These changes came after Whirlygig Inc., the nonprofit founded in 2002 responsible for getting permits, insurance, fencing, lighting and security for the festival, announced in mid-July that it would be taking a two-month hiatus from the event. Organizers said the monthly event, which draws 5,000 to 10,000 people, needs to be revamped because of strained funding.
But when TV news reported Whirlygig president Cindy Funkhouser quietly released a statement online citing the hiatus, gallery owners, artists and businesses took to their social networking sites to dispel any rumors they would be closed.
Funkhouser's statement said the event grew too quickly to keep up with funding. The event is scheduled to return in October, once the weather has cooled off, to celebrate the festival's ninth anniversary.
"This is not a bad thing," Funkhouser wrote. " Now we need to take some time to consider how popular First Friday has become and how it should continue to grow safely and sustainably."
Gina Quaranto, owner of Blackbird Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St., said there was a misunderstanding.
"You know, when Cindy sent out the release that First Friday was canceled, I don't think she meant that everything was canceled," Quaranto said. "I don't think she meant to speak for everyone."
Quaranto said she was made aware of the hiatus through news reports.
"I really want to reiterate that we're open, and we want people to stroll through the galleries and support art and artists," she said. "It's confusing. First Friday has everything to do with all of us down there. It's such a sticky situation. I wish Whirlygig can maybe get some financial aid from the city again so it doesn't have to be a stressful thing for them to figure out how to put this together every single month. I wouldn't be able to tolerate it without just walking away."
Local community activist and blogger at enculuratelasvegas.com Brian "Paco" Alvarez said he took offense to some of the misinformation being spread throughout the Arts District about the event.
"Don't tell people they can't come down like they normally do every month, because you're not shutting down the street and doing the festival," Alvarez said. "First Friday is so much more than that now, and it's only going to get bigger. There's really nothing you can do to stop it. It does a huge disservice by telling people we're cance ling. Communication is key. That's what upset a lot of people -- the communication wasn't done properly."
Alvarez added that the overall event has brought the community together.
"The success of First Friday has opened up little galleries, opened up bars and created synergy downtown, and that's great," he said. "But they should have seen the writing on the wall. When you average 4,000 to 6,000 people per month, that's an animal that can't be controlled."
Ryan Reason, general manager and marketing director for The Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., said the announcement brings attention to how Whirlygig interacts with the city and how the city interacts with the event.
"I don't envy Whirlygig," Reason said. "The efforts they've put in over the years, they've done a wonderful thing, but it's not working for them."
What can people expect upon the festival's return? There are no specifics yet.
" This is long term planning," Funkhouser wrote in an email to View Neighborhood Newspapers. "Attendees may not notice an immediate difference in the ninth anniversary event in October. It will show over time with sustainability and quality of the event."
Funkhouser also said her shop, the Funk House, 1228 S. Casino Center Blvd., is scheduled to be open during regular daytime hours Friday but not during evening festivities.
She said the artist she originally had scheduled for the event was injured and can't complete his work in time to show.
Reason, Quaranto and Alvarez suggested ways to save money by eliminating the fencing as it sends an uninviting message that the event is closed off from the community. Quaranto said she would prefer to see a parking lot where drivers are charged $5 to keep their vehicles safe. She added she also would like to see enclosures on Commerce Street and Las Vegas Boulevard where artists and their work could be displayed outside -- expanding the First Friday celebration borders within the district.
"I would encourage people to come down and enjoy First Friday," Reason said. "It will be there. It's not going away."
To follow Whirlygig's plans for First Friday, visit firstfriday-lasvegas.org.
Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-0492.