Community First Saturdays along the Northbank

by Liza Mitchell
A local financial institution is giving back to the community with a new weekend series of activities designed to encourage health, fitness and family-friendly fun. Community First Saturdays hosted by Community First Credit Union will be held on the first Saturday of every month beginning October 6 along the Downtown Riverwalk.
Community First Saturdays, in partnership with the Jacksonville Chamber of the Commerce, begins at 9 am and features instruction in yoga, tai chi, zumba and hula. Families can enjoy the free, outdoor activities while Downtown businesses will benefit from the increase in traffic. “Community First Saturdays is about the community,” Vice President of Marketing Roger Rassman says. “The focal point is our vibrant downtown and beautiful and accessible riverfront, which makes an excellent place for our community to gather and enjoy outdoor activities.”
Cycling activities like Bike Valet offer bike tours of public art sponsored by the city’s Cultural Council. The event is BYOB (bring your own bike). Members of the Jacksonville Jaguars will be on hand with high jump and long jump activities. The October 6th event is also in partnership with JaxParks’ annual Art in the Park which offers a variety of interactive, hands-on art activities including pottery, basket weaving and music making until 4 pm behind the Times-Union Center. Other events taking place that day include the Filipino Pride Parade, the Pink Ribbon Symposium, the Marine Corps Half Marathon and the Community First Care Sale.
Community East will stage the parking lot of the former courthouse with a variety of food trucks, a café with craft beers and cafe-style seating for patrons to enjoy a view of the scenic riverfront. The area will be open from 11 am to dusk.
“Lots is happening on the entire length of the Riverwalk. You can get around by foot, bike, boat and even the Skyway will be operating and free for Community First Saturday and connecting to great destinations like MOCA, MOSH, our great Downtown library and Friendship Fountation,” says Tony Allegretti, director of Downtown Engagement with the Jacksonville Chamber. “The Riverside Arts Market is still going strong. Downtown will have a real vibrancy and we hope the community can come out and be a part of it.”
Rassman says hosting events like Community First Saturdays helps foster health, wellness and education and demonstrates their commitment as a local business actively participating in the community. Community First is currently working with a number of other local groups and organizations who are interested in connecting their events to Community First Saturdays.
“We are always looking for ways to give back to those who support us,” Rassman says. “We are dedicated to being part of the team that makes the First Coast a great place to live, work and play. We encourage other local businesses and organizations to find ways to get involved in the community as well.”