CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The recent water crisis was a big hit for local businesses, but some community organizations and businesses are trying to get people out on the town and spending money again.
This Friday, East End Main Street will kick off its "reHYDRATE" campaign, which aims to bring more business to local businesses affected by the recent water outages.
The program will run from today to Jan. 31, with discounts and special deals at more than 40 East End businesses, from restaurants and bars to coffee shops and retail boutiques.
Ric Cavender, East End Main Street's executive director, said he began planning the event immediately after the chemical leak was announced.
"The idea came about, if this goes on for a while, we probably need to do something," he said. "Any business that was using water was going to be affected."
Even businesses that were not forced to close saw a drop in business because people largely have stayed in their homes during the crisis.
He said his organization's main mission is to recruit new businesses to the East End, though it also aims to help existing businesses succeed.
"We're very confident this will take off," Cavender said.
This Sunday's Mountain Stage performance also will be free to the public.
"We're starting 2014 over with a New Year's party at Mountain Stage," Mountain Stage host and artistic director Larry Groce said in a prepared statement. "January 19 is the new January 1! After the water disruption and the extreme weather, we all need a chance to reboot, and I think an evening of good music seems like a fine way to do it."
The concert, which begins at 7 p.m. on Sunday, will feature soul singer Betty LaVette and Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza, among others. Visit www.mountainstage.org for more information.
Executive producer Adam Harris said the Mountain Stage staff originally wanted to find a way to give back to the emergency responders and media that worked through the crisis, trying to keep the public safe, hydrated and informed.