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Gibby's pours on entertainment 'Fridays at 5'

GENEVA – At first glance, Gibby's Wine Den in Geneva is a retail store that sells specialty gifts, gourmet foods, a selection of craft beers, and more than 500 different skews of wine from all over the world . But the store's owners, Jan and Randy Gibson, have made it a Friday night destination, where local performers take the stage, local art is on display, and beer and wine flows from the in-store bar.

"Art and music go together quite nicely," said Jan Gibson. "The artists and musicians are local. It's a wonderful opportunity to showcase local talent."

Gibby's has been hosting its "Fridays at 5" event for six of the eight years the store has been open at 1772 S. Randall Road. Jan Gibson said they started inviting local musicians to play on Friday nights, and a few years later, they added displays from local artists.

In the Gibby's format, a new artist is featured each month. She said they usually provide a reception for the artists on the first Friday of the month, allowing the artists to be present to talk about their work. A wine tasting typically follows, she said. On the evening of Feb. 22, Gibby's is hosting "Bacchus Greets the Arts" – named for the Greek god of wine, which will include works of art by 12 to 14 local artists, instead of just one.

"That's truly an event for the art community," said Gibson.

John and Carolyn Burnham of Batavia said they have been to several Fridays at 5 events at Gibby's, including the first one held in February, to see pieces by local artist Rhonda Gentry.

"I think that Gibby's has done a great job of creating a community atmosphere, and celebrating local artists and bringing a different community together," said Carolyn Burnham.

Striving to operate as both a social destination and a community partner, Gibby's hosts ongoing charity events called Gibby's Gives Back, where 10 percent of proceeds go back to a local charitable organization, such as Fox Valley Hospice or Mutual Ground. Through March 7, Gibby's has partnered with Special Occasions in Batavia to collect jewelry, purses and gently used clothing for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse.

Several themed wine nights also are on tap at Gibby's. Just before Bastille Day in July, Gibby's hosts a French-themed evening, and a Spanish-themed event will coincide with the annual running of the bulls in Spain that same month.

"We're always looking for themed nights to make it fun and interesting for our patrons," she said.

 

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