On the first Friday of every month, Bethlehem’s Third and Fourth Streets radiate with life. The diverse array of shops, art galleries, restaurants, salons and boutiques turn into a city-wide celebration of the arts, culture, and music that residents can find in the South Side Arts District.
In September, the SouthSide Arts District hosted its Inaugural First Friday Scavenger Hunt. The Scavenger Hunt Maps highlighted 18 locations across Third and Fourth Streets, each with their own unique offering. The free goodies ranged widely: delicious food samples, energizing coffee, discount coupons, fun material gifts, and so on. While participants enjoyed finding food and other items on the hunt, they also had the opportunity to win a $100 gift card to South Side Arts District restaurants and shops if they collected stamps for each location on the map. Personally, I was hooked as soon as I saw “free sample” next to Edible Arrangements. This article will give you a sense of the Scavenger Hunt by recollecting my journey—I hope you have your walking shoes on because you’re about to follow me through the South Side.
Location 1: Edible Arrangements (11 E 3rd St.)
There was no question as to where I had to stop first on the scavenger hunt map. Edible Arrangements creates gorgeous bouquets of not only fruit, but chocolate coated fruit. You can also get smaller goodies like a cone of chocolate dipped apple bites, Edible Donuts (chocolate covered apple rings), and an entire box of chocolate covered strawberries. There’s also never a wrong occasion for a fruit bouquet. As soon as I walked through the door, I was immediately hit with the rich smell of chocolate. I knew I had a hard decision to make as soon as I approached the display case. Which chocolate covered fruit would I choose as my free sample? I ultimately went with the classic chocolate covered strawberry. It didn’t disappoint. With my first stop under my belt, I felt energized while walking the few paces to my second destination.
Location 2: Domaci (21 E 3rd St.)
Only a few paces down the street, Domaci was the second stop on my list. Founded by Derrick and Warren Clark, Domaci updates classic design with a modern flare. The decór and furnishings manage to be both stylish and comfortable. Scavenger hunt participants could enjoy a complimentary glass of beer or wine (for those 21+) and free treats while they explored the store’s diverse inventory. With everything from vintage typewriters to personalized throw pillows to contemporary light fixtures, Domaci offers everything you need to make your space a home.
Location 3: Color Me Mine (25 E 3rd St.)
My third stop took my further down Third Street. If you’re ever looking for fun ways to de-stress or just exercise your creativity, Color Me Mine is a great option. It functions as a paint your own pottery studio. You can choose any of the ceramic pieces lining the walls, and you have 60 colors at your disposal to transform that piece into your own. Your painted masterpiece is then hand-glazed, fired, and ready for pick-up only a week later. Even better, there’s no artistic background necessary. If you’re like me (no artistic talent whatsoever), this fact comes as a huge relief. I was awarded a free studio fee on the scavenger hunt, and I know I’ll be back to paint one of the fall seasonal pieces.
Location 4: Godfrey Daniels (7 E 4th St.)
Making my way to Fourth Street, my stop at Godfrey Daniels came at a perfect time. The free cup of coffee kept me moving for the rest of the afternoon. Godfrey Daniels has been an integral part of the South Side arts scene for 43 years. The listening room opened its doors in 1976 as a coffeehouse and has since become one of the best places in the Lehigh Valley for appreciating live folk music and performing arts. Godfrey Daniels differs from other live music venues because of its focus on creating intimacy between the performers and their audience. It puts on open mikes, monthly jams, story circles, and youth outreach programs. Enjoy a cup of coffee and allow yourself to be immersed in the music and welcoming atmosphere.
Location 5: EZ Money (20 W 4th St.)
With coffee in hand, I made my way over to EZ Money. At EZ Money, there’s no shortage in quirky items for sale. This shop will buy just about anything, including modern electronics, vintage antiques, laptops, video games and instruments. I come from a family that loves movies and collects DVDs; so, I was especially excited when I saw that the freebie was any DVD of my choosing. This decision might’ve been harder than Edible Arrangements. Between childhood favorites, cult classics, absurd comedies, and the entire first season of Glee, I was presented with a difficult choice. However, as soon as I saw Finding Nemo on DVD, my choice was made.
Location 6: Eva’s Bargain Boutique (412 E 4th St.)
I embarked on a cross-Bethlehem trek for my sixth stop at Eva’s Bargain Boutique. Eva’s is a boutique and gift shop that sells stunning jewelry and eye-catching accessories at a great price. Whether you have a special occasion coming up or just want to treat yourself, Eva’s is the perfect place to keep in mind. I took home a simple yet carefully crafted bracelet that I gave to my roommate as a surprise gift. She has not taken it off since the night of the scavenger hunt.
Location 7: Café The Lodge (427 E 4th St.)
Across the street from Eva’s, Café The Lodge is an eatery with a mission. They explicitly employ people with mental health challenges and seek to empower them in their everyday lives. The Lodge not only focuses on providing good food, but also doing good with food. My freebie was a cup of vegetable minestrone, and it took me back to my childhood home as soon as I tasted it. It was so warm and flavorful that it was like my mom had been the one in the kitchen. While I enjoyed my soup, my eyes roamed over the distinct and expansive collection of artwork lining the walls. The rotating gallery changes bimonthly and supports local artists. If I wasn’t in the midst of a scavenger hunt, I would’ve stayed longer to appreciate every piece of art highlighted in Café The Lodge.
Location 8: Danielle’s Cafeteria (738 E 4th St.)
I continued my trek down Fourth Street to Danielle’s Cafeteria because it was worth walking any distance to get the free corn muffin waiting for me. Owned and operated by Chef Danielle Emanuel-Moore, the restaurant has a daily rotating menu that highlights some incredible soulful flavors. Each day has a theme—Fish “Fry-Day,” and “Soul-Full” Saturday, for example. The menu contains a number of main dishes, sides, and desserts that are the epitome of home cooked comfort food. As Danielle described each dish, it was impossible to miss the passion in her voice for feeding the South Side community
Location 9: Banana Factory (25 W 3rd St. #300)
At around 7pm, I arrived at my final destination of the evening. The Banana Factory is an arts complex that’s made up of six buildings, including an old banana distribution warehouse for which it is named. The complex houses ArtsQuest’s visual arts education programs. Between the 30 studios used by resident artists, three art galleries, and numerous classrooms, any person can find their place at the Banana Factory. I saved this stop for last (and added a significant amount of distance to my expedition) because I wanted to do the open craft. Our task was to make owls with cross-stitched stomachs—I quickly learned that I’m far from a natural. However, the simple process of creating something was truly so rewarding.
Two hours, nine locations, and well past my step goal later, I turned my map into the South Side Arts District office and began my walk home. Even though I’ve lived in Bethlehem for more than two years now, I have not known or appreciated the South Side like I did that Friday afternoon. I’m hoping First Friday October brings about another Scavenger Hunt because there are so many places left to explore. Plus, I’d never say no to another chocolate covered strawberry.