2nd annual St. Louis City Social draws in crowds, vibrancy downtown
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Crowds of residents and visitors gathered along Washington Avenue for the 2nd annual City Social, an event that first took shape in the downtown area last year.
“I think it’s good for St. Louis. I see block parties a lot, places like south city,” said Ethan Sharpe, who visited both this year and last year’s City Social. “I was happy to see something downtown for once.”
Leaders with Greater St. Louis Inc. tell News 4 there was a good turnout last year, with as many as 1,000 people in attendance. They expect that to be even greater by the end of Friday.
“COVID kind of wiped out a lot of businesses. A lot of the energy that was once downtown. So, kind of being able to have this event, brought back the energy downtown,” said resident Evan Vishion.
Both organizers and the businesses along the block part route say not only does an event like this boost exposure to the businesses that exist downtown, but it also attracts people that may not normally visit.
“What we find is what makes people safe in any place is a lot of other people around them having fun, so that’s what happened on here. We expect that to happen just on a bigger scale this year. People downtown on Washington Avenue, enjoying everything that makes downtown such a great place to be,” said Kurt Wiegle, Chief Downtown Officer for Greater St. Louis Inc.
Despite concerns raised since last year’s block party about people with guns on the street, property crime and other issues, people say this showcases the positives downtown can offer.
“I think things like this will definitely give downtown a chance,” said Khalysta Bettorf, General Manager at Blondies. “I think the more people hear the bad stuff happening, the less obviously they’re going to want to come downtown, but if things like this are successful, and hopefully it will be, I think it will give downtown a better image, hopefully.”
SLMPD tells News 4 that extra officers, as well as sheriffs, are staffed in the downtown area tonight, and while they had no issues at last year’s event, they are encouraging anyone who sees something suspicious to report it to officers on-site or call 911.
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