After nearly a year of the entire world being put on “PAUSE”, most of us will never take simple things for granted. Things like eating out, listening to live music, going to the theatre, and participating in sports have been missed so much by everyone.
Charleston is gradually opening for live concerts and other performances. Charleston Ballet has begun performing to a limited audience. Fortunately, as COVID cases decline and the number of folks getting vaccinated increase, the weather is also cooperating with plenty of warm sunshine and breeze from the Kanawha River.
Many activities are still available virtually for the time being. The “Faith in Action of the Greater Kanawha Valley” is the beneficiary of the “Pedal with Purpose/ 60+Mile Bike/Run/Walk Challenge” This family friendly event for all ages takes place at your own pace all month long.
On May 13, the newly remodeled Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center (CC&CC) will be the venue for “The Avett Brothers” show that was previously scheduled for June of 2020. Most of the shows and concerts that had to be cancelled are being rescheduled when possible.
Big news for the community is the announcement that WV Power Baseball will remain in Charleston. Opening weekend for The Power begins May 28. Spectator sports return to the CC&CC on May 29 when the “304 Classics Stars vs Stripes” takes shape. Randy Moss, Jason Williams, Jon Elmore, Dasean Butler, Kevin Jones, and others will be competing against active Military Personnel in a wonderful night of entertainment that will benefit “Recovery Point West Virginia”.
The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences is currently open by reservation only. That will change as restrictions ease. However, in the newly created Susan Runyan Maier Sculpture Garden’s reflecting pool, there is a beautiful new glass sculpture created by internationally recognized artist Mari Gardner.
Fortunately, “Live on the Levee” returns to Haddad Riverfront Park in June. That is terrific news for the lovers of live music! Ordinarily beginning Memorial Weekend in May, this year the concerts will start in June. They hope to continue into the fall, instead of ending on Labor Day Weekend. Mayor Amy Goodwin explained they can move forward with the events as long as they have COVID-19 precautions in place.
Live music is also returning to The Empty Glass, at 410 Elizabeth St. The music varies between “open mike”, live bands, and DJ’s spinning records. Mi Cocina de Amor’s outdoor “Margarita Garden” is also hosting live music. After being cooped up for a year due to COVID-19, it is a huge treat to enjoy music performed live!
Downtown, on Capitol and Hale Streets, those streets will be closed to vehicular traffic from Friday afternoon until Sunday night, as local restaurants expand their seating to include large outdoor, tented areas for dining. This will continue through fall, as weather allows. Sadly, several local restaurants have not survived the pandemic’s effect on business. It is important for everyone to enjoy getting out of the house and supporting our local community, whether it is dining in, take-out, or delivery.
Mother’s Day at Capitol Market is going to be a much more normal event this year. That holiday is the Market’s version of “Black Friday”. Ellen’s Ice Cream’s market location will be opening for the season. Several pop-up vendors will be there for the weekend, along with hundreds of beautiful flowers, vegetables, and other items.
Nearly a year since the $24million renovation on the Kanawha County Public Library began, it is right on track for completion in December. Meanwhile, the Charleston branch is still temporarily available at the Town Center Mall. There are also mobile services at the Patrick Street Plaza.
As the world slowly opens back up, in the words of Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz”, “There’s just no place like home”. And there’s no better place to be than Charleston, WV!
May 9: “Mother’s Day” at Capitol Market, all day event
May 13: “The Avett Brothers”, CC&CC, 7:30pm, tickets: varies
May 28: “WV Power Baseball” Opening Weekend, Appalachian Power Park, 6pm, tickets: varies
May 29: “Vandalia Gathering”, details TBA
May 29: “304 Classics Stars vs Stripes”, CC&CC, 2pm, tickets: varies