The popular outdoor nighttime street fair known as Oakland First Fridays has been on hiatus since January, but recently announced they’re bringing the event back for the First Friday of April, next Friday, April 5.

The recurring monthly Friday night block party and vending fair Oakland First Fridays had been routinely drawing 15,000 to 35,000 attendees before the pandemic. But since the event reopened in September 2021, increased permit fees, a drop in the number of vendors, and the loss of valuable vending space led the event to cancel First Fridays from January through March 2024, according to Oaklandside.

Organizers said at that time that “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the temporary closure of Oakland First Fridays beginning of 2024 from January to March due to financial constraints.”

One wondered if the event would return in April. But according to First Fridays’ social media accounts, the event is back on for next Friday, April 5.


"After a hiatus of three months dedicated to fundraising efforts, we're thrilled to announce that Oakland First Fridays is making a triumphant return on April 5th!," organizers said in a statement to SFNews. "Your patience and support during this time have been invaluable, and we can't wait to welcome you back to our vibrant community event."

"During our break, our team has been hard at work, focusing on securing the resources needed to ensure the sustainability of Oakland First Fridays," the statement added. "While there's still plenty of work ahead, we're more determined than ever to make this event a lasting fixture in our community."

The organization also posted its return on Twitter in early March. “Save the date and join us Friday April 5th for our ‘Welcome Back’ event right here in the heart of the KONO District!,” that announcement said. A similar message was posted on the First Friday Instagram, a March 15 Facebook reel, and the organization has created a Facebook event invite. Additionally, the First Fridays Oakland website has a countdown timer counting down the days, hours, and minutes until the April 5 event.

(By the way, “the KONO District” refers to Koreatown-Northgate, a stretch of Telegraph Avenue north of Uptown.)

The announcements say the event will be held at its traditional 5-9 pm timeslot, and at its usual location on Telegraph Avenue between 22nd and 27th streets.

Image: OaklandFirstFridays.org

But organizers have made it pretty clear that their issues have primarily been financial. The above graphic illustrates their claim that the event lost $95,225 during the months it operated in 2023. Additionally, Oakland First Fridays says the construction on a protected bike lane on Telegraph Avenue cost them more than $8,000 in lost vendor revenue.  

The website has a PayPal donation link for those who want to support, and the page for their Oakland First Fridays Golf Tournament Fundraiser (June 24 in Vallejo) also has a donation link under the header “Want to Support Us?”

First Fridays started in 2006 as Oakland Art Murmur. The Telegraph Avenue street fair component grew alongside it, but the two became separate entities in 2012. Art Murmur now does its own independent programs and events.

This post has been updated with comments from the Oakland First Friday organizers.

Related: Oakland First Fridays Returns After Three Rained-Out Months [SFNews]

Image: Earl G. via Yelp