TROUTDALE, Ore. (KOIN) — Crowds once again filled the streets of downtown Troutdale listening to music, socializing and mingling after a long year of COVID restrictions.
The first of the resumed First Fridays in Troutdale felt nearly normal. Children laughed, families walked, artists and vendors were prominent.
For Ellen West, Alenna Fouts and dog Leo, the event felt refreshing.
“It feels like an escape,” said West. “It feels nice and unfamiliar, I think, a little strange but welcomed.”
Fouts added, “We’ve broken out. … It’s awesome to see families out people selling things. We are going to get something to eat, have a beer, just have a nice Friday night.”
Fabric artist Heather Densem had her new business, Pennystone Design, on display, designed during the lockdown.
“I sell mostly these little plant holders here,” Densem said. “I came up with these so I started graduating to some bigger things like purses.”
When her other business shuttered because of COVID restrictions, she got creative.
“My regular business was closed so we needed a way to make a litlte money and buy groceries for the kids really, so it was like, let’s make stuff and this is what I came up with,” she said.
Now she takes Pendleton fabric and transforms it.
“This backpack is my newest design I absolutely love,” she said, “and just lots of leather and Pendleton wool.”
Densem said she’s grateful to finally meet some of her new customers face to face.
“It’s really nice. People seem to be a lot more open and I know lots of people have been vaccinated so they feel a little more free,” she said.
“Everyone feels a sense of lightness, I think,” Fouts said. “With summer coming we can’t keep Oregonians inside during the summer.”