Summer activities return to Charleston
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Popular summer events are returning to Charleston this weekend, with Live on the Levee and outdoor dining kicking off Friday for the Memorial Day weekend.
This is the first the city has been able to host its normal activities since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Mayor Amy Goodwin’s Chief of Staff Matt Sutton said they are hoping to create a sense of community in the downtown area during the coming months.
Live on the Levee is returning to its normal Memorial Day to Labor Day schedule after being cancelled in 2020 and delayed in 2019. Outdoor dining on Capitol Street and Hale Street is also back for restaurants to expand their dining rooms into the road.
“It allows people to come out, have dinner, a few drinks before they go out to Live on the Levee,” Sutton said. “It allows you to make an entire evening out of being downtown in the city of Charleston. You can walk around into City Center, you can go and have dinner and then you can go over to Live on the Levee and enjoy the evening as well.”
Sutton said Charleston has events scheduled every weekend throughout the summer, and he is hopeful it will create excitement and energy downtown to boost business.
Big Joe’s Bar and Grill is one of the businesses that benefited from outdoor dining when it was first introduced in 2020. Owner Joe Guilfoile said it helped them get through a tough time, and is expecting another boost in business on weekends this summer, normally seeing a 50% increase in customers during Live on the Levee compared to a normal Friday night.
“Anytime this rolls around, business picks up,” Guilfoile said. “Getting people out on the street and downtown, and giving them a good time so they will come back again.”
The new Fife Street Brewing just opened on Summers Street. General Manager John Query is expecting to see the community come back together for Live on the Levee and other concert events.
Query said Fife Street has a number of specific drinks for weekend nights, as well as games for families to play while outdoor dining.
“Live on the Levee has always kind of been an institution downtown,” Query said. “It pumps a big economic driving force downtown. We have so many people coming from the suburbs in to downtown to spend some money. They hit the restaurants, they hit the bars, and we want to be a part of that. We want people to enjoy a drink before or after and really capitalize on that downtown engagement.”
Outdoor dining will continue into Monday night just for Memorial Day weekend. All other weekends it will run Friday through Sunday.
Capitol Street will be blocked off from Kanawha Boulevard to Lee Street, and Hale Street will be closed from Quarrier Street to Lee Street. Virginia Street and Quarrier Street will remain open for traffic all weekend.
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