CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It’s Sunday afternoon in South Charleston’s downtown and the two busiest businesses are “Yen’s sandwiches” and “Legion Comic Books,” where people gathered to play Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy table games.
The rest of the businesses were closed or near empty.
Normally it would’ve been lively, with the four-day annual South Charleston Summerfest underway.
City leaders say they waited until the last minute to cancel but with the uptick in Coronavirus cases, it seemed the right thing to do.
South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens says the festival costs $120,000 to $150,000 to put on each year and as for the impact on downtown businesses, he says he can’t speak for them.
“I think some will tell you, I know historically, when the streets are closed and the festival’s going on, it’s really not that good for business because their regular customers don’t come around, and then of course other businesses like restaurants and bars, they’ll do a little bit better,” he said.
The owners of “Happy Days Cafe” say the festival meant a $10,000 to $15,000 bump they won’t be able to replace this year.
For the “Styles Salon” next door, Summerfest was an opportunity to advertise and hand out goody bags to foot traffic.
This year the festival will be going virtual through the South Charleston Visitors and Conventions Bureau.
According to Mayor Mullens, they’ll be back again bigger and better next year.
You can participate in the virtual Summerfest by clicking here.