May First Fridays: Studebaker Homecoming

Hundreds of Studebakers will be coming back home to the city they were created in for the May First Fridays. South Bend serves as host to the Studebaker Drivers Club International Meet once every five years, and 2017 is the year they return. Over 200 Studebakers will be parading from the 4-H Fairgrounds to downtown South Bend between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on May 5, and participating in a giant cruise-in from 5:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m. on Michigan Street between Colfax and Western (plenty of free parking will still be available in our downtown parking garages.)

The Studebakers Drivers Club Band will also be giving a special performance in Studebaker Plaza that night, and several restaurants are offering dining deals both for the Studebaker Drivers Club members and for the hundreds of First Fridays visitors that are expected to come out and see this Studebaker Homecoming. 

Also enjoy Cinco de Mayo festivities, a display of antique bicycles at the Purple Porch Co-op, the return of the Historic Architectural Walking Tour, live music at Chicory Cafe, LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern, South Bend Chocolate Cafe, Fiddler's Hearth, Vegetable Buddies, and the General, an opening reception at the South Bend Museum of Art, and much more. Check out all the details below!


Transpo will be offering FREE shuttle rides on one of their new CNG buses from 5:00 to 9:00 pm., and they just recently launched their new shuttle route, which includes the South Bend Museum of Art!  Please note: due to the fact that Michigan Street will be closed this First Fridays because of the Studebaker Car Show, the First Fridays shuttle will not be stopping on Michigan Street. The closest stop to Michigan Street will be at the South Bend Museum of Art. Click here for a map of the May First Fridays shuttle route. Transpo shuttle service will pass each stop approximately every 15 minutes. 

The shuttle service now has First Fridays Tour Guides! They will tell you all about the different activities and promotions that are taking place downtown at First Fridays, as well give general info about the downtown businesses, mixed with historical tidbits and fun facts. Grab a seat on the new First Fridays Transpo Tour, and enjoy the informative ride! 

If you're interested in being a First Fridays Tour Guide, click here for more information.

Entertainment & Activities

Studebaker Car Show

4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Michigan Steet - Colfax to Western

Over 200 Studebakers will be coming to downtown South Bend this First Fridays, parading in from the 4-H Fairgrounds between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Studebaker Drivers Club members from around the country will be in South Bend May 3-6 for the 53rd Annual International Meet, and this First Fridays we will have the pleasure of welcoming them to our downtown for a giant Studebaker car show. Studebakers will be parked on both sides of Michigan Street from Colfax to Western, and it will be a sight to behold. (NOTE - This portion of Michigan Street will be closed for non-Studebaker parking starting at 2:00 p.m. on May 5. Free parking will be available in the Wayne Street, Main Street, and Leighton Garages. See map here.)

Studebaker Drivers Club Band Performance

5:30p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza (corner of Michigan and Jefferson)

Come enjoy a free performance by the Studebaker Drivers Club Band. 

Antique and Vintage Bicycle Display at Purple Porch 

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
123 N. Hill St.

Members of The Wheelmen will be bringing an array of antique bicycles to the parking lot of the Purple Porch Co-op this First Fridays. There will be a variety of bicycle types, ranging in age from 1876 to 1915. They will be demonstrating how to ride these high-wheel bikes and more. Other vintage bicycles will be on display as well, plus see Studebaker photos from Jacob Titus and sample some locally-roasted Bendix Coffee.

Free Bicycle Checks

5:00 9:00 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza (corner of Michigan and Jefferson)

South Bend Cycles will provide free bike checks and information about bicycle commuting, safety, and rides. Bring your bike for a check before the Mayors' Ride, which is taking place on May 7 this year. Sponsored by Bike Michiana Coalition to encourage cycling for fun and transportation. 

Then & Now: A Downtown South Bend Architectural Walking Tour

5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
American Trust Company clock (corner of Washington and Michigan)
A fun and informative guided walking tour of South Bend landmark buildings, exploring their history and present day use. Cost for these 90-minute tours are just $2/person. Reservations can be made online by clicking here or by calling 574-282-1110. Tours meet at 5:30 p.m. at the American Trust Company clock, located at the corner of Washington and MIchigan, in front of Cafe Navarre.

Book Signing for "Murder in South Bend" at Idle Hours Bookshop

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
212 S. Michigan St.

Idle Hours Bookshop will host a book signing of, “Murder in South Bend” from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. this First Fridays. "Murder in South Bend" is the latest book by author John Bridges. The event will consist of a meet and greet with a book signing starting at 6:00 p.m. including a small reception. Books will be available for purchase at the event. Bridges is also the author of "Studebaker’s Finest, a History and Restoration Guide for the 1953-54 Coupes and Hardtops" and "Bob Bourke Designs for Studebaker." He is a retired engineer and industrial designer with over 100 U.S and foreign patents to his credit. Bridges has restored a number of classic automobiles including several Studebakers. He has written numerous articles for automotive magazines and is a life member of the Studebaker Drivers Club.

Opening Reception at South Bend Museum of Art

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
120 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.

The South Bend Museum of Art will be holding an opening reception for a new exhibition by artist Robert McCann entitled "Staged Revolt." McCann explains that in his current series of paintings "popular wrestlers act as stand-ins for our transitory and ritual roles in society." He will be giving a gallery talk about his work at 7:00 p.m. that night, and you can learn more about his work by clicking here. Admission to the museum is free on First Fridays, and refreshments will also be provided. The museum will also be hosting a volunteer appreciation night in the Carmichael Gallery for donors, volunteers and new members.

Free Wooden Car Craft from Montessori Academy Edison Lakes

5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza

Montessori Academy Edison Lakes will be offering a free craft project for kids in keeping with the Studebaker theme. They will have wooden toy cars for kids to decorate at their booth in Studebaker Plaza from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Tour the Golden Roamer: Mobile Visitor Center

4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza

The Golden Roamer is a 24-foot recreational vehicle complete with brochures for visitors detailing the area’s offerings as well as satellite TV, and more. It will be parked near Studebaker Plaza (corner of Jefferson and Michigan) and you are invited to go inside and explore.

Laura Whidden at South Bend Chocolate Cafe

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
122 S. Michigan St.

Laura Whidden will be performing a free concert at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Also take advantage of their First Fridays special: 2 for $17 any crunch/pretzel combo. 

Riverlights Music Festival Pre-Show at Brew Werks

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
216 S. Michigan St.

South Bend Brew Werks will be host to one of three Pre-Shows happening prior to Riverlights Music Festival 2017. This event is partnering with The Music Village to provide four talented performers: Jake Borowski, Lucid Lions, Lune, and Letters From Earth. Performances will be under the marquee of the State Theater. This an all-ages event, with free admission. Riverlights Music Festival 2017 tickets will be sold at this event.

Oblates of Blues at The General

8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
609 E. Jefferson Blvd.

The Oblates of Blues will be performing a free concert at The General Deli & Cafe from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Kennedy's Kitchen at Fiddler's Hearth

9:00 p.m. to midnight
127 N. Main St.

Enjoy free live music at Fiddler's Hearth by local Irish band Kennedy's Kitchen from 9:00 p.m. to midnight every First Fridays!

El Shaddai Performance

6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza

El Shaddai will be giving a free gospel music performance at 6:30 p.m., following the Studebaker Drivers Club Band performance, in Studebaker Plaza.

4th Annual Juried Show at Fire Arts

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
305 E. Colfax Ave.

Fire Arts will be hosting an opening reception for their 4th annual juried show, featuring sculpture. The reception begins at 5:00 p.m. and the awards ceremony will start at 7:00 p .m.. They will will have 31 works representing 17 artists. A People's Choice Award will be given at the June First Fridays after visitors have had a chance to view the artwork throughout the month of May. 

Historic Hoffman Hotel Tours

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
120 W. LaSalle Ave. 

The Hoffman Hotel Apartments will offer free tours of their renovated historic apartment spaces, along with live music and free refreshments. The tours will be given every half hour (5:00, 5:30, 6:00, etc.)

Cinco de Mayo Party at Vegetable Buddies

129 N. Michigan St.
10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Vegetable Buddies will be hosting two bands for their Cinco de Mayo Party - Lalo Cura will be the headliner, with After Ours opening the show. Come out early for a great dinner (there will most likely be tacos for the celebration) and to make sure you get a good seat. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. with a 10:00 p.m. showtime. 





Food & Drink Specials

Special Studebaker Menus

Many downtown restaurants are offering special menus for the event, with many incorporating Studebaker-themed food and drinks. 

Baker's Bar & Grill

123 N. Marting Luther King, Jr. Dr. (inside the DoubleTree)
Offering a special menu with appetizers, meals and drink specials. Click here for a PDF of the special menu.

Le Peep

127 S. Michigan St.
Offering a special menu with Studebaker-themed menu items. Click here for a PDF of the special menu. Also offering 10% off to Studebaker Drivers and other First Fridays guests. 

South Bend Brew Werks

216 S. Michigan St.
Offering special Studebaker-themed menu items and $5 Beer Cocktails. Click here for a PDF of the special menu.


103 W. Colfax
Offering a 3-course menu for $26 with Tapastrie favorites and new additions. Click here for a PDF of the special menu.

Tippecanoe Place

620 W. Washington St.
Offering a 3-course dinner for $30 plus specials on themed drinks. Click here for a PDF of the special menu.

Vegetable Buddies

129 N. Michigan St.
Offering a 3-course "Studebaker Champion" meal for $29.95, plus drink specials. Click here for a PDF of the special menu.

Other Food & Drink Specials

Release of Illuminator Beer at Brew Werks

5:00 p.m. to midnight
216 S. Michigan St.

South Bend Brew Werks releases a new beer each First Fridays, and this month they will be unveiling Illuminator Belgian Wit, benefitting DTSB for the month of May. They will also be hosting the Riverlights Music Festival Pre-Show (see details in Entertainment section to the left) and will be selling Michigan Street tacos in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

Studebaker Logo Cookies at Cops & Doughnuts

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
231 S. Michigan St.

Cops & Doughnuts will be doing a special sugar cookie with the Studebaker logo this First Fridays, as well as offering their "vintage" TV bars for just $2 each.

Pizza and Pint Specials at Barnaby's

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
713 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Barnaby's will be offering $2 off any large pizza for Studebaker Drivers and other Studebaker First Fridays visitors. Plus, take advantage of their regular First Fridays special of $4 pints. They are also featuring a First Saturdays special each month: any large 2 topping pizza, an order of breadsticks, and a pitcher of pop (or a 2 liter on carry out orders) for only $19.95 plus tax. 

$6 Hurricanes at Chicory Cafe

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Take advantage of Chicory Cafe's ongoing First Fridays special of $1.50 one scoop gelato, and 16 oz. Hurricanes for $6.00.

Retail Specials

PigeonHen de Mayo at The Pigeon & The Hen Pottery

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
217 S. Michigan St.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo First Fridays style at The Pigeon & The Hen Pottery. They will have activity stations outside their store for coloring sugar skulls, flowers, and Estrella de Guerra cookie cutters for only $5.00 each. They will also have glow in the dark paint, neon acrylic colors, and tons of glitter to inspire your creativity. Plus sugar skull to-go packs for $18 and larger sugar skull items to paint inside as well.

Jewelry & Craft Sale by Dismas Designs

5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza

Dismas House is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 to provide transitional housing and support services to men and women who have been recently released from incarceration. Through Dismas Designs, a social enterprise of Dismas House, residents are trained to make bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and other crafts. This gives residents a “second chance” and empowers them to develop their artisan and business skills for future employment. All of the profits from Dismas Designs are used to benefit Dismas House and its residents. 

Retail and Coloring Discounts at Hair Crafters

8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
602 Lincolnyway East

Hair Crafters will be offering 10% off all retail and 20% off all new color guests. The 20% off new color guests promotion is good for the entire month of May.

Friends of the Library Book Sale 

4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
333 S. Michigan St.

Enjoy amazing bargains on books, CDs, magazines, and more for both kids and adults at the Friends of the Library's First Fridays Book Sale from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Unity Gardens Plant Sale at Junk Evolution

4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
528 E. Colfax Ave.

Purchase plants for your flower garden or vegetable garden at the 6th Annual Unity Gardens Plant Sale, taking place at Junk Evolution.  All proceeds go to support supplying seeds and plants for all open Unity Gardens. The event takes place Friday 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and CircaArts and Junk Evolution will both be open for special First Fridays hours.

Vintage Ali at Ali on the Boulevard

10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
722 E. Jefferson

Come shop the special collection of jewelry Ali has created. 


Studebaker Giveaway

7:00 p.m.
122 S. Michigan St.

The South Bend Chocolate Cafe will be giving away a 1950 Studebaker Commander to one lucky winner this First Fridays. Entries have been collected since the contest started in May 2016, and the winner will be announced at this First Fridays, at 7:00 p.m., on the stage at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe. Contestants entered by writing their name on the back of their receipt and dropping it in the ballot box. Entries will be collected until 5:00 p.m. on May 5. 

Mamma Mia Ticket Giveaway

5:30 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza

Broadway Theater League is giving away 2 tickets to the Morris Performing Art Center's showing of Mamma Mia on May 16! To be entered in the drawing, post a picture or video of yourself doing one of the following: dress up as your favorite Abba character, sing your favorite Abba song from Mamma Mia, do some Abba dance moves, or recreate your favorite scene from the movie.
Post your picture or video submission on Facebook or Instagram with #MammaMiaDTSB to be entered to win. The entry deadline is Thursday, May 4. The winner will be drawn at the May First Fridays, in Studebaker Plaza, at 5:30 p.m. – just before the Studebaker Drivers Club Band concert. Need not be present to win.

Detailed Map of Street Closures and No Parking 


Baker's Bar & Grill

123 N. St. Joseph St. 
Buy one appetizer, get one 50% off.


713 E. Jefferson Blvd.
$4 pints every First Fridays; also featuring a First Saturdays special each month: any large 2 topping pizza, an order of breadsticks, and a pitcher of pop (or a 2 liter on carry out orders) for only $19.95 plus tax. 


131 S. Michigan St.
Get one 14" 1-topping pizza for $12

Chicory Cafe

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.
Live music, $1.50 one scoop gelato, and 16 oz. Hurricanes for $6.00

Edible Arrangements

123 S. Michigan St.
50% off a box of dipped fruit (pick-up)

South Bend Brew Werks

216 S. Michigan St.
New seasonal beer release and food pairing

South Bend Chocolate Cafe

122 S. Michigan St.
2 for $17 any crunch/pretzel combo

South Bend Museum of Art

120 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Free refreshments, entertainment and admission

Therapeutic Indulgence

904 E. Jefferson
20% off gift cards

Tippecanoe Place

620 W. Washington St.
1/2 price appetizers In the Studebaker Lounge or Patio

Event Sponsors