First Thursdays, the monthly social-retail event held from 4-8pm every first Thursday May through September, is back this Thursday, July 6, with a Throwback Thursday theme.

This Thursday’s highlighted decade is the 1990s: Heating Up with Neon. Over 30 participating businesses will have in-store specials and/or host activities that play off the theme and give attendees a reason to explore, meander, and discover the many local gems of Wausau River District.

A scavenger hunt will also give people an opportunity to win a $50 gift certificate to any participating business.

Held throughout Wausau’s River District, this community-driven event will feature local businesses, live local music, live art creation, and themed activities hosted by local businesses. Each month, First Thursdays turns downtown Wausau into a type of street fair, encouraging exploration of local businesses and the whole of downtown Wausau.

Even with rain in the forecast, shoppers have plenty of opportunity to experience what makes the River District store so special. Rain locations include various stores that will act as rain locations for bands, and the Information/Scavenger Hunt Start table will be moved to the Wausau River District office at 316 Scott Street.

“This event showcases the Wausau spirit of entrepreneurship, art and community,” says Blake Opal-Wahoske, Assistant Director of Wausau River District and administrative lead for First Thursdays. “It gives people another reason to come and experience our downtown, and plenty to do, see, and listen so while they’re here shopping and supporting our local businesses.”

Paula Voss, with VOSStudios, explains how much this event means to the downtown businesses, “We get so excited about planning for each First Thursday. It’s a great evening to see old and new friends and meet new ones while exploring our River District. We are so lucky to have our vibrant downtown filled with local street performers and unique activities scattered throughout our storefront. You never know what you might get to experience.”

First Thursdays was developed by local business owners who sought to enhance the downtown shopping experience.  The goal of the event is to make shopping downtown a special event by creating an enjoyable atmosphere filled with music and entertainment while promoting the unique River District stores.

First Thursdays would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors: Compass Properties, Eastbay, ENT Associates, Executive Cleaning, Manpower, Nationwide, Ruder Ware, the City of Wausau, and Wausau Center Mall.

Upcoming First Thursday events are: August 3rd and September 7th.  All event details and more information can be found on the First Thursdays Facebook page (First Thursdays – Downtown Wausau) or Downtown Wausau’s River District’s Facebook page (Downtown Wausau’s River District). First Thursdays is also on Instagram under the handle @1stThursWausau.

The purpose of the Wausau River District is to promote and facilitate the economic vitality and historic preservation of downtown Wausau for the benefit of the entire community.