Premier on Film Row, one of the newer monthly downtown festivals, is adding an indoor interactive park this week that will include kite flying, sand boxes and art exhibits for kids.
The park, which will remain open Saturdays through February, is the latest twist for the event, which began as “Final Friday” in April 2012 as a way to promote awareness of the district just west of the Myriad Gardens.
Monthly festivals have sprouted up throughout downtown as it has become an increasingly vibrant urban core beyond the normal work day. It was when Kendall Brown, executive director of IAO Gallery on Film Row, attended the monthly H&8th food truck festival in nearby Midtown about a year ago that the Film Row festivities began to evolve.
“We realized that when we met with the folks at H&8th, we were competing with that,” Brown said. “We didn't want to do that — we wanted to be a good neighbor. So we moved it to the third Friday and became Premier on Film Row.”
That collaboration, in turn, drew interest from Jonathan Fowler, who as vice president of Fowler Auto Group was already sponsoring monthly festivities at H&8th and the 16th Street Plaza District.
Fowler asked H&8th organizers if he could join that early meeting with Brown, and it didn't take long for him to decide to add the Film Row festival to his company's sponsored events.
“It took me five minutes of seeing the passion in the room,” Fowler said. “It's a no-brainer for me. It's in lockstep with my passions. We've been doing everything we can to support great organizations like IAO and areas like Film Row. Instead of spending everything on TV and radio, we put money back into supporting the community. It's all about educating the greater Oklahoma City community about what is going on.”
A monthly festival on Film Row — the 700 block of W Sheridan Avenue — would have been unthinkable a decade ago when most of the buildings were empty and boarded up and vagrants slept on doorsteps.
That changed as developer Chip Fudge began to buy and renovate many of the Art Deco buildings that were once home to film exchange operations for Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Fox Films. Other developers followed his example.
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Premier on Film Row
Premier on Film Row is held every third Friday, 6 to 9 p.m. The pop-up park at the IAO Gallery, 706 W Sheridan Ave., will host a reception at 6 p.m. Friday featuring live performances by Sugar Free Allstars, Spaghetti Eddie, and The Flukes.
The park will remain open noon to 5 p.m. every Saturday. Admission to the festival and to the park is free. Friday's festival will feature an Elvis Presley theme, with Elvis tribute band Mike Black & the Stingrays performing at 6 p.m. at Dunlap Codding, a patent, trademark and copyright law firm at 609 W Sheridan Ave. The district will host a velvet Elvis scavenger hunt.