Events return to Aiken with Annual Mardi Gras Festival
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -The city of Aiken held one of it’s first large events since the start of the pandemic, as Newberry Street played host to the annual Mardi Gras Festival.
Two years after the start of the pandemic, smiles were on faces as the return of events was a sweet boost for businesses across the river region.
“We’re just out here today in this lovely event, in this amazing weather, and the crowds are coming so business is going really great out here,” said Alea Garvin, the owner of Grovetown Based business, the Whipped Creamery. “We’re just thankful to be a part of it.”
For Christian Carlisle, the owner of Blue Collard, a restaurant in Aiken, the crowds came as no surprise.
“I think anybody’s welcoming any type of normalcy. It’s been a long several years for everybody of every age and um demographic so I think everybody’s welcoming back real life regular life,” said Carlisle.
David Jameson, the President and CEO Aiken Chamber of Commerce, said it is a welcome change after a long period of no events in the community.
“We’ve had two years of a lot of our community events being cancelled and our food and beverage establishments and retail establishments count on this business because it’s not just for local people but they attract visitors to our community,” said Jameson.
Events are crucial for the local economy as more events means more customers.
“A lot of small businesses really count on these kinds of events Count on this kind of activity to move them a long and help them grow and thrive,” said Jameson.
While economic boost is important, the vendors we spoke to said, it isn’t the most important to them. Rather, its the reunions that mean the most.
“It’s just being a part of the community that’s what makes it funs, being in the streets with everybody,” said Carlisle.
“It gives us a little more sense of normalcy so we can get back to enjoying the outdoors, enjoying the crowds, enjoying each other,” said Garvin.
The community is hungry for more opportunities to come together and celebrate each other.
Community members will get that opportunity as the city is looking forward to a busy event season this spring, with next month having horse shows, and Master watch party events beginning in April.
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