Oakland's First Fridays taking a one-month break

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland's October 5 First Friday went exactly as planned, with tens of thousands of people gathering along a five block stretch of Telegraph Avenue to enjoy food, art, music and one another.

But it's what happened after the peaceful event ended at 9 p.m. that's prompted organizers to take a pause and call off the next one in November.

"There are many reasons for this cancellation," said Festival Coordinator Alessandra Chimienti Gibbs. "The most important one being the violence that happened after the last event in October, where five people were injured in a shooting."

The shooting, originally a dispute between two men, happened hours after First Friday was over, and several blocks away, down at 19th and Telegraph.

Still, Mayor Libby Schaaf agrees that a break is a good idea.

"We know that First Fridays is growing in popularity," said Schaaf, "and that the organizers are looking not just at the time of the event itself but what's going on outside of the event, going on in the hours after the event is over."

Besides beefing up security, organizers are working with the city and leaders of other neighborhood districts to come up with strategies for managing the huge crowds after the official event ends at 9 p.m.

In the meantime, independent vendors like Hal Stevens told us canceling even one First Friday will be a big loss.

"I'm pretty sure that some of us may have a few bucks tucked away," said Hal Stevens, owner of Hal's New York Hot Dogs. "But there's a lot of us that don't. And you know, live from paycheck to paycheck, and it's going to hurt."
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.