Why yes. It’s 75 degrees in January! I don’t mind bragging a bit to make ya’ll shivering in your boots north of here just a teeny bit jealous. I’m nice though, I will tell you that I got them at ShoesFella, so if you are really jealous, you can easily remedy that by getting your own. As a matter of fact, I’ll have you know that after work I may just go put on some flip flops. Since this weather is an unusual departure from our normal grey day 50 degree January, you can bet your sweetgrass basket that the whole town is going to be out and about this weekend.
You see, not only is it Charleston Restaurant Week, with 3 courses for $20, $30 or $40 offered by countless restaurants around town (as if we need any post-holiday padding), but also this weekend happens to be Second Sunday on King Street. For those of you who may have been living under a rock for the past two years, or those of you who don’t actually live here – let me provide some insight. Second Sunday is a car-free day Downtown (on King Street) that happens every second Sunday of every month. It’s a day where everyone comes out to stroll, to shop, to dine outside at the restaurants with their streetside tables, to gawk and people watch and have a generally good darn time. Dogs, babies, grannies – they’re all there.
AND CARS ARE NOT. 🙂
Musicians come out to play, artists set up their easels and even the local luxury car dealer and major event sponsor, Tommy Baker, puts out a few of his newest models for all of us to play in. Here’s a slideshow of one Sunday put together by the marvelous Susan Lucas of the King Street Marketing Group who heads up the coordination of the event.
So I have to tell you, each time Second Sunday happens, I feel a little bit of pride. Why you ask? Because I was part of a group of some incredibly dedicated people* who were the ones who convinced the city to make King Street car-free in the first place. We all got together one steamy day in June 2009 with a similar vision and over the next several months, we met, we muddled, we planned, we powerpointed. And then we took the idea to the City with the hope that they would love it and want to do it all the time.
Uh, so they were actually a bit wary. After all, closing down more than half a mile of one of the busiest streets in town is not an easy feat. Would people come? Would businesses be adversely affected? Would people in cars be really really mad? So we pounded the streets and got local business buy-in, we raised money from some fantastic sponsors, gathered a group of tireless volunteers, and after nearly 7 months of back and forth with the City, received approval for the event. So on May 16, 2010 – we held what we called “Do the Charleston“!
Thousands of people came out to enjoy the event, including Mayor Riley. And at the end of it all just a couple months later, the City announced they were going to close King Street to cars every Second Sunday. (Cue major cheers from us!!)
So it has been two and a half years since that first day in May, and Second Sunday has now become a part of our Charleston culture. It’s become a place of gathering and camaraderie on one of the most beautiful streets in America. So if you’ve never experienced it, I invite you to come to this Sunday’s event. It’s not every day in January you get 75 degrees and sunny. 🙂
And I am so glad that I get to just relax and enjoy it now….Thanks Susan and the City of Charleston!
*I want to take a moment to give thanks again to all the people who worked for this, and I hope you always remember the impact you had (and can have!) on this great city of ours. Jamie Price of Monarch Development, Tom Bradford of Charleston Moves, Brad Rickenbacker at Joint Venture Jewelry, Celeste Fortier, Sean Hughes, Dan Kelley, and many many more…