OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — After a one-month hiatus, First Friday is back on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue.
The monthly event was knocked off the calendar in November after a shooting following October’s First Friday injured five people.
While the crowds were thinner on this chilly December night, people told KPIX 5 they felt safe with extra officers and security guards milling about.
“I’m not worried one bit and I feel extremely safe,” said Lyle Scott of Pittsburg.
James Copes, a fixture around “The Town” known as Old School Copes is among the vendors who depend on First Friday for their income.
“For me personally, it’s not so much for me just about the money — it’s about keeping traditions. We want to keep it going because people come out and then it disappears then people wonder what’s going on,” Copes said.
Organizers say the event is so intertwined with Oakland’s identity that it had to come back.
“We wanted to bring it back because we feel like it’s always been a safe event,” said Mike Woolson. “There were issues with Oakland, with gun violence in Oakland. We bring a lot of people downtown, when you bring a lot of people together stuff happens but, also, when you look around, you see all these people doing the Oakland thing, being the community that we are. That’s why we brought it back.”