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Columbia County bouncing back to normal with large events



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Bouncing back to normal seems to be everyone’s goal right now. It’s a goal that’s starting to feel more manageable as vaccines become widely available.

Already, community events are picking back up across the river region and leaders in Columbia County hope that this is a sign of the normalcy to come.

Today, the Columbia County Amphitheatre was crowded with people and had food trucks and music just like it used to.

“I think everybody is ready,” said Janet Wheatley, from Program and Events in Columbia County. “People have been stuck in the house, limited on how many people they can see or who they can see, now you’re able to get out with your friends.”

Many are experiencing the joy of being together again. With lower case numbers and vaccinations rising, Janet Wheatley and her team are bringing events back to the community.

Boots, Brews, and BBQ is just one of many, and the first Saturday market in over a year is back tomorrow in Evans Towne Center Park. The idea of having these events back in the CSRA is music to Renee Hajek’s ears. She’s the owner of Stay Social Tap and Table.

“Farmers, the producers, the crafters, and the vendors able to come out, I think we have over 40 vendors for tomorrow’s event,” she said. “That was a part of our business plan in the beginning to kind of piggyback off of that, and to give people a place to come when they want to go to the park.”

There has been some piggybacking, but at a distance. Her business Stay Social Tap and Table need events back.

“We’ve been open for eight months now which means we don’t qualify for any financial assistance,” said Hajek.

Concerts are in full swing at the Sharon Jones Amphitheatre too. With North Augusta’s Riverside Village starting to see some life again.

As the Jessye Norman Amphitheatre still tries to get back on its feet, business is getting ready to boom in Evans.

At the end of May, Columbia County will host its first Saturday concert at Evans Towne Center Park. Organizers of the concert expect to see up to 2,000 people come through.

“In addition to helping the economy, I think it helps people’s spirit,” Haje said.