Encinitas 101 MainStreet follows its mission and mantra: “Downtown Encinitas — a place to Live, Work, and Play,” in presenting First Thursdays, a free monthly community evening of food, art and entertainment along Coast Highway 101.
Originating a few years ago as a means of drawing residents and visitors to eat, drink and shop on Highway 101 on week nights, First Thursdays have been evenings when shops and restaurants along the 101 strip stay open late to offer entertainment and special discounts.
Beginning April 2, Encinitas 101 MainStreet’s new Executive Director Thora Guthrie shakes things up with an explosion of visual and performing arts. With an infusion of fresh vitality, the reenergized monthly event is not to be missed.
Guthrie, who just weeks ago took the reins at Encinitas 101 MainStreet, comes from a strong artistic perspective. An artist in her own right, the recent member of the Encinitas Commission for the Arts brings her extensive background in design as well as communications, marketing and public relations.
With First Thursdays, Guthrie focuses on local artists and performers gaining exposure. She has assembled an exciting lineup of visual artists and musicians paired with local businesses to kick off the new and improved series of events.
Guthrie says enthusiastically, “Connecting our prolific art community with the public in a family-friendly atmosphere will be dynamic, valuable for everyone and make this an event that people will look forward to every month.”
On April 2 at the Encinitas 101 MainStreet office, located at 818 S. Coast Highway, Marvin Free and his Jazz Trio “Endangered Speciez” perform, while the E101 Gallery hosts a reception for artist Cathy Carey whose bright paintings are on exhibit.
In the nearby Lumberyard’s central plaza, original indie rock band Triceratropical entertains the crowd, while attendees visit with artists such as Judy Salinsky at the Off Track Gallery, and other artists at Movin’ On Shoes. Ballet Folklorico de San Dieguito performs in the same plaza at 6 p.m.
Ironsmith Coffee, newcomer to the 400 block of the Coast Highway, collaborates with Arnette Eyewear to host printmaker Jason Markow and live music by folk rock duo “Professional Friend,” rotating with creative acoustic guitarist Katya Brown from Fine Tune Academy.
The Roxy Restaurant features renowned local jazz musician Peter Sprague, while Art N Soul (633 S. Coast Highway 101) hosts an artist reception featuring refreshments. Bliss hosts a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception for local photographer/mixed media artist Laura Cunningham.
Artists will guide youth in painting a mural on the paper-clad south-facing wall of Detour Salon at the corner of E Street and Coast Highway, which will also be the site of future First Thursday live paintings and graffiti paint-outs.
Across the street in the Small Mall, artist Michelle Gonzales performs face painting and displays her artwork, accompanied by acoustic guitar/singer songwriters Nicole Burns and Jacob Mobley, both from Fine Tune Music Academy.
In front of Bier Garden (641 S. Coast Highway), artist Jolee Pink of Wabisabi Green displays her coastal themed creations including textiles, ceramics and tiles, which are for sale along with her recently published Living Coastal book, featuring table décor and recipes by local artists and chefs.
At the northern end of the Lumberyard, Lobster West offers complimentary snacks while Hula hoopers perform at Soulscape.
The SAID Space Gallery features an artist reception and “Lazy Left” exhibit preview, featuring art by noted designer and edgy artist Dustyn Peterman (aka “Dusty Dirtweed”).
Wade Koniakowsky, one of the nation’s leading ocean-inspired artists, demos his painting techniques while displaying his artwork at Hansen’s (1105 S. Coast Hwy 101), accompanied by Norbert Wild and friends playing folk and Hawaiian slack key guitar.
Additional artists and musicians will be added to the roster for this and future First Thursday events throughout the year.
Happy Hour prices and discounts are available during the event at Union, Roxy, the Lumberyard Tavern, and Blue Ribbon Pizza when guests mention First Thursdays.
Come downtown Encinitas April 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. for an evening full of art, entertainment, food, drinks and special offers not to be missed.
For more information on First Thursdays and an updated guide of participating artists and merchants call their office at (760) 943-1950 or go to