Good artists make good neighbors, especially in the Railroad Arts District, a collection of businesses and artists near the CSX railroad in the north part of town. This area is comprised more or less of the Leathers Building on Pulaski St., the D.O.C. Building at 585 Barber St. and the Chase St. Park Warehouses at Tracy and Oneta streets.

Their monthly open house, First Friday, is enjoying quite a bit of success, with the third event coming up this weekend. Initially organized by Lou Kregel, whose graphic prints and patterns grace artwork and textiles you might have seen at Five Star Day Cafe, Flicker Bar, Georgia Museum of Art, etc, the First Friday event opens the doors to businesses and studios in the area: Honeys Salon, Canopy Studio, Mom's Garage, The Ceramic Collective, Balance Pilates Studio, ATHICA, Floorspace Dance, Marmalade Pottery, and tons of others. Local artists gather on the sidewalk at the Chase Street Warehouses, set up tables with their art for sale and studios open their doors with cocktails. Last month's event was packed and a great way to spend a Friday happy hour--I ran into lots of fun people, and got some great ideas for locally-made Christmas presents.

This weekend's First Friday has several concurrent events going on, so I put together a little arts crawl itinerary for your Friday night. It's fully packed, but totally worth it.

5 p.m.: Arrive at the Chase Street Warehouses (160 Tracy Street) to check out the artists on the sidewalk and grab a cocktail. Pick out an original painting or piece of jewelry and cross somebody off your holiday gift list. Stop in at ATHICA to see their latest exhibit, Free Press in Free Fall, before it closes on Sunday.

6 p.m.: Walk the three or so scenic blocks to hit up the Dia de los Muertos celebration at White Tiger Gourmet on Hiawassee Avenue. This little Boulevard-neighborhood eatery in an old grocery store is celebrating the Day of the Dead with Casa de Culura, a Latino women's pottery collective. They've invited Latin-folk group Incatepec to play, and sugar skulls and traditional foods should abound.

7 p.m.: Head back over to Chase Street Warehouses for a dance performance from Kacico Dance, a visiting group from Kansas City, performing choreography by former Athens resident Julie Rothschild to music by Athens band Hope for Agoldensummer. They're showing in Floorspace, the shotgun-layout dance studio in the warehouses.

8 p.m.: Step into line next door for Canopy Studio's Repertory Company performance, Pirates of the Airrrr! There will be trapeze, a fantastic pirate ship, aerial fabrics, lyra, crazy stunts, pyrotechnics, and lots of silly accents. (I'll be there--I'm performing.) Bring your pirate hat.

You'd have a great night doing any one of these activities, but I challenge you to go for the sweep! Athens' amazing arts scene beckons.