Art on State draws large crowd, businesses packed Friday evening

Music filled the air and the smell of food cooking was abundant Friday evening.  It’s been a while since so many people packed the first block of State Street in West Columbia.

The City of West Columbia sanctioned Art on State, in conjunction with the May State Street Art Crawl. The business community expressed satisfaction with the event. 

“It was phenomenal,” said Lainie Lewis of State Street Trading Co. “People were so happy to be out and about. West Columbia put on its best face.”

Lewis said it was her best day of sales in three-and-a-half years. “I was so busy helping customers I could not get outside,” said Lewis. “It was graduation weekend at USC and there were a lot of people from out-of-town here.” She said some that came in Friday, came back to shop with her on Saturday.

The Meeting Street Artisan Market was also open for a special night edition beside the Interactive Art Park at 425 Meeting Street. A line of foot traffic moved through the market most of the night. 

“I can’t remember the last time I’ve been around so many people in a fun atmosphere,” said Allison King. She came to Art on State with her husband, Mike and one-year-old daughter, Parker. The family lives in Red Bank. “This is such a great event,” King said. “I’m so glad West Columbia has something like this.”

Food and drinks were sold at vendor tents and artists painted murals in the street, with  a view of the city skyline as a backdrop.  The event featured live music by Prettier Than Matt and The Reggie Sullivan Band.

“People really want to come out and enjoy living,” said West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles. “I’m very pleased that the City of West Columbia could offer this opportunity for everyone to get out and see the best we have to offer. It’s a wonderful event. We’re so happy to do it.”

Kelli Ricard, Director of Events and Publications for the City of West Columbia, was part of the team that planned Art on State.  

“The weather is perfect and we’re grateful that the public responded in such large numbers,” Ricard said. “The event started at five. It usually takes a while for much of a crowd to get here, but a lot of people came early and more came as it got later. It’s really good to see.” 

Damian Telencio brought his three-year-old son, Luca, to Art on State.  “This is a great chance to get out and enjoy a beautiful spring evening in West Columbia,” Telencio said. Telencio, who lives in West Columbia, said he will be back again, as soon as there is another similar event. “I love this atmosphere and I’ve missed it in the last year or so.”

Other businesses were grateful for the event.

Three Oaks Florist, on its Facebook page, wrote: “What a great time we had tonight! Thank you to everyone who came out and enjoyed visiting all the businesses and restaurants on State Street! Plus our great bands and local West Columbia businesses that made the event a wonderful time.”