Poker, patrons and pin-ups during First Friday

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

It was Fat City in downtown Lebanon during “First Friday Flashback” on Aug. 5.
No one was cruisin’ for a bruisin’, nor were any drag races held for pink slips, but Main Street was lined with classic cars from the Rollin’ Oldies Car Club, and rockabilly tunes permeated the block at Kristi’s 50’s Cafe.

Spit-shiny classics line Main Street.

The Lebanon Downtown Association’s First Friday event was co-hosted this month by Kristi’s, harkening back to the days when rebellious teens of the mid-century would dig a hip greaser with a fast car and cool cats would hang at the drive-in.
Reese Clark said that when he and his wife, Kristi, bought Kristi’s (formerly Serendipity Cafe), he envisioned having hot rods as part of the business theme. So they took the idea of a ’50s-with-hot rods concept to the table during a Lebanon Downtown Association meeting, where, apparently, everyone thought the idea was a kick.
“[They’re] really ecstatic about it because it’s something they haven’t gotten to see in a while, and it’s downtown,” Reese said.
A contender for a Kristi’s-hosted dance competition warmed up his dance-floor boogie while others cruised downtown businesses and gathered at Strawberry Plaza to watch a pin-up contest, which drew 24 contestants vying for the title. Paisley Williams, 3, won in the 0-11 age category, while Marie Wallace, 15, took the prize for ages 12-16. The crowd cheered loudest for Mugs Coffeeshop owner Brittany Nassar in the adult competition, but judges determined Taylor Reid (who wowed with her backflip in a skirt act) would take first place.

Brittany Nassar strikes a pin-up pose.

The event also included a Poker Run. Participants paid $5 for a poker tally sheet to collect playing cards from downtown businesses.
“We had an explosion of our First Friday,” LDA Manager Cassie Cruze told the City Council at its Aug. 10 meeting. “It’s been beautiful to see the people kind of coming together again.”
Cruze believes that when a downtown business collaborates on a First Friday theme, it helps highlight what that business brings to the community, she said.
“It’s a focus on the business in itself while promoting our whole downtown and driving people down here while having fun,” she said.