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WNC Business

Marion launches social district

Aug 28, 2023 02:29PM ● By WNC Business

MARION - In July of 2023, the City of Marion joined more than 40 municipalities around the State of North Carolina to create a Downtown Social District with the theme of “Eat, Drink, and Be Marion”. 

This specifically zoned area allows for alcoholic beverages, purchased from participating ABC permitted businesses to be carried within the designated area between the hours of 11 AM and 10 PM daily.

The district officially launched on Friday, August 18, and has since been a huge success in downtown Marion. So far, downtown restaurants, brew pubs and retailers have seen a positive impact from the newly-established social district. 

Since the launch of the social district, downtown business owners Alan and Crystal Ledbetter have invested in additional outdoor seating to enhance the back alley of their building. This new outdoor space has been enjoyed by Social District participants in the North Block of Main Street. It’s also activated a space that was nothing more than a pass-through before.

Although the social district is very new in Marion, downtown business owners have stated they feel that it will help them during the City’s busiest days, which are oftentimes the days of festivals. 

Early on business owners approached the City of Marion about considering a social district, because of the questions they oftentimes received during festival. Those questions included “can we walk around with our drink?” and “Is it ok to leave with this drink?”

During the City’s next major festival, the 40th Annual Mountain Glory Festival, business owners in the social district will be able to answer yes to both of those questions as long as the patron asking has a special marked “Eat, Drink and Be Marion” Downtown Social District Cup.

To learn more about the East, Drink and Be Marion Downtown Social District, visit