Pedestrians took over King Street on Sunday to "Do the Charleston," an event Mayor Joe Riley called a "smashing success."
"It was a very successful event and so thrilling to see so many people enjoying the streets and the sidewalks on King Street," he said.
From 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., King Street was closed between Calhoun and Queen streets, allowing pedestrians to reign supreme. The event, which began at noon and ran until 5 p.m., featured alfresco dining, street vendors, artwork and live music.
Some stores that normally are closed Sundays opened their doors and participated in the outdoor-style mall. Riley said he thinks businesses will benefit from the event, and not just when King Street is a automobile-free zone.
Kristin Walker, one of the event organizers, said one of the merchants she spoke with was enjoying the relative quiet, saying, "All we hear is people."
Charleston Moves organized bicycle rides to the peninsula from Folly Beach and the Isle of Palms earlier in the day. Even though planning for the rides began separately from the King Street closure, Walker said, "We thought they were a perfect complement to each other."
Walker said the King Street event was an opportunity for people to take time out to "greet one another and enjoy their city."
"We all get so disconnected in our daily lives," she said.
Closing down a section of a busy thoroughfare is no easy feat, but it was worth it, Riley said.
"King Street is a national success story. It is a remarkable achievement," he said, adding that having such a vibrant Main Street atmosphere "makes Charleston a rarity among American cities."
After the success of Do the Charleston, Riley said the city is interested in holding another similar event, perhaps on a regular basis. He said input from residents and business owners will be needed to get ideas for future events.