Booming festival raises hopes of beleaguered restaurant industry.

The Grammy-nominated prophet of the Mississippi blues, Cedric Burnside, plucked the sounds of a slow triumph out of his wood-paneled guitar, as at least 100 listeners congregated at the foot of the stage swaying to the electric growl of the bass notes.

"I came from nothing," he sang. "I done been, I done been lower than lower. I keep my head on straight."

Crowds jostled shoulder to shoulder past the W. Washington Street Stage, queing up in lines that could swing out to the middle of Main Street, as restaurateurs served up their fare, sometimes buffet-style at the front of the tent, sometimes in the back.

"But we made it. But we made it. But we made it. Yes we did," sang Burnside.

The scene could have been from 2019, but this time around, the restaurants that made it to the streets of Greenville's largest event were a little more weary and definitely wiser after running the gauntlet of the past two years.

The festival goers, a little more hungry for the hum of a crowd and normalcy, passed by the shells of Husk, Port City Java, The Chocolate Moose, Happy + Hale and Dark Corner Distillery some now occupied by new tenants, some not.

On other years, Fall for Greenville can be a boon for business. In 2021, Fall for Greenville was a flare of new life for the city's hospitality industry as almost 50 restaurants, coffee houses and food vendors snaked from E. North to Augusta streets from Oct. 8 to Oct. 11.

The city was still counting purchased food tickets when this story went to press.

"Fall for Greenville is always a really excellent opportunity," said Kristin Kay, owner and operator of Wildflower Cupcake and Dessert Bar. "It's an opportunity to get your name out there and to get the exposure that you need, but as far as revenue is concerned, if you have a good weekend which normally you do, weather is the only thing that can prevent that it can make or break for us, the month of November."

Kay has manned a tent at Fall for Greenville for eight to nine years, she said, but this weekend was her busiest yet despite pounding rain that swept guests off the sidewalks the night of Oct. 8.

"In years past, there have been times that November has been a real slow month, and the Fall for Greenville revenue has helped us get through," she said. "It definitely makes a difference. Of course, with COVID, things have really been up and down, inconsistent."

Kay split off from a franchise two years...

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