Downtown Charleston hosting Streetfest Saturday

Gazette-Mail file photo
Christopher Booker walks down the street during a Streetfest celebration. The annual series of festivals on Capitol Street, which spotlights downtown businesses, returns Saturday.
Gazette-Mail file photo
Helen Gilmer, 4, of Charleston twirls a hula hoop at last year’s downtown Streetfest. Hula hoops and sidewalk chalk will be among the amenities at Streetfest this Saturday.

A Charleston summer staple is bringing the block-party back downtown this Saturday.

The third annual Charleston Area Alliance Downtown Streetfest will return to Capitol Street with its first event from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, headlined by reggae artist Shayar who will be performing with the Beckley-based band, Krooshal Force.

“The goal of Streetfest is to bring people downtown,” said Tim Brady, vice president of sales and marketing at the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Especially the people that work in the offices downtown that come in, go to work, go home and don’t really experience downtown.”

Streetfest will be held on the block of Capitol Street from Quarrier Street to Lee Street.

“We try to encourage people to eat at the restaurants downtown and go in the stores,” said Lesli Forbes, Charleston Area Alliance vice president of marketing and development. “What we’re really trying to do is spotlight those downtown establishments.”

Forbes said businesses have increased sales during the events and that the event draws people to the “urban core” of downtown Charleston.

“We see a really great turnout,” Forbes said. “We’re really happy with the response. Our sponsors have been really helpful in saying ‘let’s do more of this.’ Everyone in this town works together to create events like this.”

There will be tables set along the closed street, which will allow event-goers to enjoy takeout from downtown restaurants. Chairs, hula hoops, large chess boards, cornhole and sidewalk chalk will be set up along the street. Alcohol will be available for purchase from local vendors, and the city’s open container ordinance will be waived for the event.

“All around downtown there are locally owned small businesses,” Brady said. “I think it’s important for a town like Charleston to support those businesses because they are the backbone of the downtown economy.”

This year’s Streetfest will feature artist Jack O’Hearn, who will attend each event this summer and collect event-goers thoughts on community in drawings that he will use in a painting about community that will be displayed in a downtown storefront.

“It’s been really great. Sometimes on a Saturday in the summer you’re looking for something to do, a way to get together with friends,” Forbes said. “It’s very family-friendly. You can bring your kids and they can play. It doesn’t matter your age or what you’re into. It’s a nice environment to hang out.”

The block-party is presented by City National Bank and sponsored by the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sprigg’s Distribution Company, Capitol Beverage Company and GAI Consultants.

Streetfest block parties will be held on July 22 with the Chase Band, Aug. 26 with the VooDoo Katz and Sept. 23 with Beggars Clan.

Reach Kayla Asbury at kayla.asbury@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5100 or follow @kasbury_ on Twitter.

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