For the past 10 months, expats and locals in Playa Samara have enjoyed getting together for a scheduled “FIRST FRIDAY” social gathering! It has proven to be an extremely popular event that everyone looks forward to, and attendance has been very consistent, even as the months and seasons change.
FIRST FRIDAY originator and organizer (and WLCR VIP Member) Bill Knight explains that he had enjoyed the same success with the same idea in Florida before he and his wife retired and moved to Samara in 2008.
“All it takes is a group of people that have something in common and want to come together to share an enjoyable afternoon, exchange information, meet old and new friends, and discuss their experiences – good or bad. In Florida, the common thread was that our event was held in a marina, and 90% of the folks were boaters and the other 10% either wanted to buy a boat or sell a boat.
Here, the common thread is that everyone is from somewhere else and is looking to make new friends and rekindle old acquaintances as our part-time residents come and go during the year.
It is not uncommon for folks to bring their visiting friends and family to these events, because it gives the resident a chance to introduce their visitors to our neighbors and our way of life. Several visitors have exclaimed that they had no idea how many friendly neighbors their hosts benefit from, and they start to understand how pleasant life in Costa Rica can be.”
“Likewise, our residents find and make new friends with other expats or locals that they share an interest with – maybe it is fishing, or gardening, or bridge, or dominoes, or chess, or golf …. whatever!
Many friendships and activities begin at FIRST FRIDAY.
It is not unusual to hear someone discussing or planning a golf outing, or couples’ quad ride, getting together for a dinner party, or a shopping trip to Liberia. FIRST FRIDAY has no official agenda, no program, maybe a brief announcement of local interest or importance, or maybe a brief notation of someone who has “volunteered” to plan and organize the next month’s event.
“We have a great group of expats and locals here in Samara, from Canada, the US, Italy, Germany and elsewhere. Fortunately we also have a great selection of bars and restaurants to choose from when planning our monthly event. You get an amazing reception when you can walk into a bar or restaurant and say: “We would like to have our next FIRST FRIDAY event here, if you would like to host it”. Would they like to host it? Who wouldn’t?
In these tough times, to basically be telling the owner that ‘I would like to bring 50-60 of my closest friends in here next Friday afternoon to drink and snack for 4 hours. Some will come early for a late lunch, others will stay late for an early dinner – does that work for you?’ We now have establishments ASKING if they can host it!”
FIRST FRIDAY has become so popular that several of the hosting bars and restaurants have provided drink specials, and complimentary bocas, snacks, etc., as well as an invitation to “Please bring FIRST FRIDAY back and we’ll do even more next time!”
“Some of our resident regulars have suggested we do it even more often, like Fecond Friday, Fhird Friday, Fourth Friday and Final Friday, but too much of a good thing can spoil how really special something can be.”
Bill explains. “Plus, it does take a little bit of effort to get it organized with the bar or restaurant, get the email announcement out, send out the reminder emails, follow-up with the host bar or restaurant, etc.”
Fortunately, after the first 4 months or so I had people come up to me and ask if they could plan and organize the next event. Whenever that happens I gladly give them a simple sheet of instructions and the email list on a disc. Thus far, everyone has followed through and we have had a succession of very successful FIRST FRIDAYS at venues in both Samara and Carrillo.
On Friday, July 1st, we combined FIRST FRIDAY and “North American Day” (celebrating both Canada Day & July 4th) with a big beach party on Carrillo Beach. Of course we had a backup location just in case of any “liquid sunshine” – fortunately, the weather cooperated wonderfully.”
Starting FIRST FRIDAY in your area would be a great excuse to give you and your fellow expats a reason to gather together at a predetermined location at a predetermined time and date at least once a month.
“Samara’s FIRST FRIDAY events start at 2:00pm, swells to the largest crowd between 3:00 & 4:00, and we generally have a nice crowd till well after 5:00pm. Different groups gather all through the month, but FIRST FRIDAY is our chance to get everyone together at least once a month – and so far, it has been a very simple formula that has worked extremely well.
And Bill offered one more thing – all of the FIRST FRIDAY invitations and reminders include one simple tag line – “REMEMBER, IF WE’RE NOT TALKING TO YOU, CHANCES ARE WE MAY BE TALKING ABOUT YOU!” It seems to encourage attendance.
If you would like more ideas about starting a FIRST FRIDAY event in your area, Bill Knight will be more that happy to share ideas and his experience in Samara so far, as well as hear about any ideas or activities you may have in your area . He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by VIP Member Bill Knight.
Expats Living In Samara Enjoy “First Fridays.”
Article/Property ID Number 3224
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