The free Friday night concerts in Centennial Park, put together each year by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department since the mid-1980s, kick off this week and run through Aug. 2.

The series is getting an earlier start this year in hopes of avoiding the worst of the wildfire season.

“Generally, we run every Friday in July and August, but due to the smoke the past few summers we’ve had to cancel the last two or three shows each year,” said recreation coordinator Sascha Smith. “We are hoping by starting in June and ending the first weekend of August we can miss the smoke and do the full series.”

In addition to the live music, the gathering includes prizes and giveaways and activities for children — games, coloring, face painting and corn hole.

“Bring a blanket or a camping chair to sit on, come hungry and bring the whole family,” he said. “We truly believe that the Summer Concert Series is a huge benefit to the Valley. In addition to driving tourism to Wenatchee, the concerts offer an annual downtown experience that makes this community a more wonderful place to live.”

Residents seem to agree, with attendance running between 300 and 500 per show.

The Prefunc’s classic rock and party songs open the series Friday. The music starts at 7 p.m.

For adults, the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center’s Summer Concert: Beer Garden at the Museum, also opens at 7 p.m., just uphill from the park. Beer and wine are available for purchase.

The concert lineup for the following weeks includes:

July 5: Junkbelly

July 12: Desmadre Musical, opened by Los Faraones USA

July 19: Seth Garrido

July 26: Analog Jack

August 2: Kevin Jones

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151