October First Fridays: “Fall” in Love with Downtown

About October First Fridays

We encourage you to “Fall” in love with Downtown this First Fridays, as we celebrate fall activities. Throw on your lederhosen and come downtown for pumpkin-spiced food and drinks, free pumpkin carving at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe Pumpkin Palooza event, the VPA Fall Fun Fest on the Gridiron, and a giant Oktoberfest Celebration at the Purple Porch Co-op, complete with a German band and beer garden!

Also watch people “fall” (rappel) from the Jefferson Centre Building for the Youth Service Bureau Over the Edge event.

In addition to fall activities, the South Bend Museum of Art will be holding a celebration of local artists (and a live tattoo event!) at their Artist Mixer, and you can attend the last architectural walking tour of the season. Check out all the details below!

Free Parking

Parking (on-street and in DTSB-managed garages) is always free in downtown South Bend nights and weekends. For full details on downtown parking options, click here.

Free Transpo Shuttle

Transpo will be offering FREE shuttle rides on one of their new CNG buses from 5:00 to 10:30 pm. Click here for a map of the shuttle route. Transpo shuttle service will pass each stop approximately every 15 minutes.

The shuttle service also 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

Pumpkin Palooza at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
122 S. Michigan St.

Pumpkin Palooza is the annual downtown pumpkin carving event hosted and sponsored by the South Bend Chocolate Cafe. This year’s event will also be a canned food drive, and they are asking for one donated item per pumpkin. They will have 250 large pumpkins available and 50 small pumpkins for the little ones. Pumpkins will be available first come, first served, and typically go fast.  Carving tools and table space will be available.

The pumpkins will be displayed on Michigan Street that evening as luminaries, and will be available to take home after that. Also check out free live music by Laura Whidden from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., try out their fall beverage specials (see below), and take advantage of their First Fridays special: 2 for $18 any crunch/pretzel combo.

Third Annual Oktoberfest at Purple Porch Co-op

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
123 N. Hill St.

Enjoy a free, family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration at Purple Porch Co-op. There will be live German and Polka music by The Will Smaka Band, traditional German foods, and great local brews from South Bend Brew Werks. The menu will feature bratwurst, kraut, warm potato salad, apple streusel, pretzels, coffee, truffles, and sourdough.

Over the Edge 2018

1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Jefferson Centre Building
Over the Edge is a fundraiser for Youth Service Bureau, where participants raise money for the opportunity to rappel over 100 feet off the Jefferson Centre Building in downtown South Bend. A spectator area will be set up on the Jefferson Blvd. side of the building, where Chicory Cafe will have a beer garden and chili. Additionally, there will be a Kids’ Zone from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with a rock wall, face painting, and various games!

Artist Mixer at South Bend Museum of Art

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

The South Bend Museum of Art invites everyone (not just artists) to their 2018 SBMA Artist Mixer. Come mix and mingle as SBMA celebrates local artists with art, music, treats, libations, and the artist receptions for “Beyond Ink: Recent Artwork by South Bend and Regional Tattoo Artists” and “The Side Show.” In keeping with the theme of the exhibits, tattoo services will be administered live at the event! Bare Hands Brew is also releasing a special SBMA beer – “Right Headed” – an American Wheat Ale with raspberries. From 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Eli Kahn & Krista Hoefle bring STRT/SLCT, a music and visual art performance with a live dance composition performed by New Industry Dance. Admission to this event is free. For full event details, click here.

7th Annual South Bend Jazz Festival

5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Century Center Great Hall
Enjoy world-class jazz music, from funky to classic to world and everything in between, at the 7th Annual South Bend Jazz Festival. Performers will be coming from England, Holland and across the USA. Savor craft brew and great food while you enjoy the concerts and take in the breath-taking view of the St. Joseph River. The event has expanded to a 2-day event: October 5th and 6th. Pre -show tickets are $15.00 per night, or $25.00 for both shows. Day-of tickets at door are $18.00.

NOTE – Event organizers have made the decision to move Jazz Fest inside for both Friday and Saturday. It will now take place in the Great Hall of the Century Center.

Guided Walking Tour of Historic West Washington District 

5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
302 W. Washington St.

We’re switching up our normal historic walking tour that takes place during the summer First Fridays. This time we’re touring the beautiful West Washington Street area, a National Register District showcasing an exemplary and eclectic blend of architectural styles and structures. Once home to influential citizens, titans of industry, civic leaders, and other prominent families; West Washington Street is now replete with businesses and residents that value and preserve the fine architectural legacy left in their care by those that preceded them.

Tours are given by the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend & St. Joseph County. Cost for these 90-minute tours are just $4/person (cash only.) Reservations can be made by clicking here or by calling 574-282-1110. This tour will meet at 5:30 at the historic Ambassadors for Christ Church, 302 W. Washington St. (the southwest corner of Washington and Lafayette.)

Note – this month’s Then & Now: A Downtown South Bend Architectural Walking Tour is fully booked. Please try back next summer!

VPA Fall Fun Fest

5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Gridiron
Enjoy your favorite field games and a fun obstacle course on The Gridiron with SBVPA. Play cornhole, ladder toss, giant Jenga, Connect 4, and more! There will be a special Best. Week. Ever. 2019 announcement, a visit by Spark, and free giveaways.

Fall in Love with The Music Village

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
333 S. Michigan St.

Stop by The Music Village‘s open house at their new location for live music, food, drinks, tours, and more!

Local Author Book David Kobb Book Signing

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
212 S. Michigan St.
Local Author David Kobb will be outside Idle Hours Bookshop from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. signing copies of his book: 13 Scary Stories for Children Terrifying Tales. He will also be joined by his wife who will be face painting. Copies of his book will be available to purchase.

Gospel on the Plaza

6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza
God’s Warrior Ministries present “Gospel on the Plaza“, with performances by GWP (God’s Warrior Prazin’) host of Gospel Nation with GWP on Mix 106,  Anthony Greer, Delois Nkosi, Emac The Great (Gospel Rapper) ,Jenell Martin, and PhloetiQ Brown(Gospel Rapper.) Admission is free.

Jake Webster Talk and Poetry Reading at Fire Arts

5:00 P.M. to 9:00 p.m.
305 E. Colfax Ave.
Jake Webster will be showing a selection of his sculpture and paintings at Fire Arts through October 2018. He will also be giving a talk at 7:00 p.m. and doing a performance of his poetry this First Fridays.

Lighthouse Paint Night and More at GALLERY 2910

10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
113 W. Monroe St.
GALLERY 2910 will be having three events/promotions taking place this First Fridays:
Lighthouse Painting: paint your own Studebaker truck with your own personalized colors and backgrounds.  Anybody can do it and with their truck template you are guaranteed to take home a beautiful painting plus step-by-step help from our lively instructors! Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Use promo code “1STFRIDAY” to receive 20% off!
Artists You Should Know:  Each month GALLERY 2910  will feature a different artist for your enjoyment with complementary light refreshments. The artists’ work is always for sale and artists are available for commissioned orders.
Energy Friday: Start off your month with their Energy Friday and align yourself with your greatest desires. This holistic art lab features a different modality each month. Practitioners will be available for mini sessions from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Activities with South Bend Children’s Museum

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Gridiron
The South Bend Children’s Museum will have the following free activities taking place near the Gridiron:
Leaf Chromatography/Skittle Chromatography (
STEAM Connection: Science)
Children will see (and hear an explanation of) the results of a leaf chromatography experiment. They will then have the opportunity to conduct a simpler chromatography experiment of their own, with Skittles.
The Physics of Whirligigs (Maple Seed Pods) (STEAM Connections: Science and math)
Children will observe how whirligigs fall, hear a (kid-friendly) explanation of aerodynamics, and will experiment by making their own “whirligigs” out of pennies and tissues, exploring the variables of “seed” and “wing” size.
Pumpkin Candy Sculptures (STEAM Connections: Engineering and art)
Children will create sculptures using toothpicks and pumpkin candies.

Voter Registration and Information Table

4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
122 S. Michigan St.
Did you know the deadline for registering to vote in Indiana before the November 6th election is just days away? Join the League of Women Voters and NDVotes at the voter registration and information table hosted by the Chocolate Café. Volunteers from the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area and ND students involved in NDVotes will help you look up your registration status and guide you through the steps to fill out the Federal Voter Application form if you are not yet registered.  It’s not too late to participate in this year’s general election!

Latin Dance Party at Cinco 5

10:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
112 W. Colfax Ave.
Cinco 5 hosts a Latin dance party on the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month, playing bachata, salsa, cumbia, merengue, and more. 21+ only; $3 cover after 11pm.

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!

Tours of the Historic Hoffman Hotel

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

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

Live Music at LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern

5:00 p.m. to midnight
115 W. Colfax Ave.

Enjoy two free live shows at LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern this First Fridays: StarHeart from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Paul Erdman from 9:00 p.m. to midnight.

One Love Reggae Party at Vegetable Buddies

10:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
129 N Michigan St.

Vegetable Buddies will be presenting the One Love Reggae Party with Zion Lion. Come out early for a great dinner and to make sure you get a good seat. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.  21+, $10 cover.

Specials on Retail/Services

Bubbles & Bones at The Pigeon & The Hen Pottery

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
217 S. Michigan St.
Bubbles and Bones is a Potterween event geared to special techniques like bubble glazing, black wash, and glaze dripping to create fun spooky effects! Customers may walk in and paint or select from the special offers and techniques on cauldrons, skulls and more.

Fragrance Basket Giveaway at Ali on the Boulevard

10:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
722 E. Jefferson Blvd.
For every $40 you spend at Ali on the Boulevard this First Fridays, you will be entered to win one of three awesome fragrance baskets, valued at $100 each. They will also have their favorite holiday fragrance out: Frasier Fir.

Friends of the Library Book Sale 

12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
333 S. Michigan 

The Friends of the Library Book Sale is back open in their newly renovated space – with extended hours. Enjoy amazing bargains on books, CDs, magazines, and more for both kids and adults from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Food & Drink Specials

Fall Drink Specials at South Bend Chocolate Cafe

6:00 a.m. to midnight
122 S. Michigan St.

In addition to pumpkin carving and live music, the South Bend Chocolate Cafe will be having some delicious fall drinks available this First Fridays, and throughout the fall season. Try their Pumpkin Spice Mocha, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Spiced Caramel Apple Cider, Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate, or Spooky Spice Chai.  Also take advantage of their First Fridays special: 2 for $18 any crunch/pretzel combo. They will also have a special on candy – 3 for $13, choice of 4-piece turtles, fall lollipops, or 5-piece assortment.  Ben’s Pretzels (located inside the Chocolate Cafe) will also be offering a First Fridays special: 3 pretzels for $10 (not including sauce.)

“Love in Fall” Cocktail Special at Tapastrie

5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
103 W. Colfax Ave.
Enjoy a cocktail special “Love in Fall” crafted by Wally the bartender, for just $6.

Fall Beer Specials at Baker’s 

5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
123 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Caramel Apple Cider on draft and Pumpkin Cider bottles both on special for $5 (normally $7.)

New Beer Release at South Bend Brew Werks

5:00 p.m. to midnight
216 S. Michigan St.
South Bend Brew Werks will be releasing two new beers this First Fridays: an Oktoberfest, and a Noche Honey Cream Ale. Sales of the Noche will benefit La Casa de Amistad for October. They will also be introducing street tacos! Choice of brisket, pulled pork, or chicken topped with sriracha aioli, slaw, red onions, green peppers, and cheese – 3 for $10.

Free Cider from NDFCU

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
210 S. Michigan St.
Notre Dame Federal Credit Union will be passing out cups of cider at their downtown branch from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

New Real Services Food Truck at Studebaker Plaza

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza
The Real Grille – the new food truck from Real Services – will be at Studebaker Plaza this First Fridays. Check out their menu here.


Ongoing First Fridays Promotions

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.

Ben’s Pretzels

122 S. Michigan St.
3 pretzels for $10 (not including sauce).


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)

Hair Crafters

602 Lincoln Way East
20% off for new guests and 10% off all retail

South Bend Brew Werks

216 S. Michigan St.
New seasonal beer release

South Bend Chocolate Cafe

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

Therapeutic Indulgence

903 E. Jefferson
20% off gift cards

Tippecanoe Place

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

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