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Northwood Art and Music Festival Is West Palm's Alternative to Black Friday

We know what you're not doing on Black Friday. You're not going down to Walmart for the blue-light specials, because you want to make clear you don't support corporations that pay their employees poverty wages and whose overseas suppliers' worker safety practices are suspect. If you do go, it will be to call Walmart out.

You may, though, want to get a jump on your holiday gift-shopping all the same. So -- socially-conscious and aesthetically adventurous as you are -- the smart move would be to skip the big box behemoths altogether and hike on up to the 500 block of the Northwood neighborhood in West Palm Beach, where the area's nuevo boho artists and merchants are hosting their first annual Art & Music Festival.

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If you don't already know, after many years of false starts as the "Hip Place to Be," Northwood has a delightful revival under way. Along Northwood Road and nearby streets is a pleasing, human mix of Soul Culture (the Blue Chip Barber Shop, the African American Heritage Bookstore); hipsterdom (Harold's Coffee, thedavidKspace salon); some Palm Beach glitz (Cafe Centro) and what may be the best burger in the county.

The idea for the festival originated with the folks at Harold's, as an outgrowth of its bi-annual outdoor mural project. Per their manifesto:

Break the vicious cycle of the corporate hold on your holiday spending. Make a conscious effort to help stimulate the local economy... With all the issues we have in today's society, the only way you can make a direct impact is to focus locally on your community.

That thought took wings, gathering the support of the Northwood Village arm of the West Palm Beach CRA, among others, and now includes more than 20 local vendors and food trucks, an array of local artists (with a silent auction of their work) -- including a long list of muralists -- and a bundle of bands so you can dance off the turkey day calories.

"Northwood is a gem in the rough," festival coordinator-in-chief Daniel Warren told us. "It's quaint, focused on artists and local community." And the festival? "It's all about supporting local artists and merchants as opposed to the normal Black Friday corporate shenanigans."

Northwood Art & Music Festival, with School of Rock, Future Dinosaur, Sweet Bronco,

Break the Hero, and others. 1 to 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29, 500 block of Northwood Road, West Palm Beach. Visit Facebook.

Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact [email protected].

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