SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - As the Summerville YMCA sets up for the 44th annual Flowertown Festival this weekend, organizers say they expect a large turnout of more than 200,000 people for the free event, a turnout that will mean parking issues.
Some of the spots where people used to park in the last few years is no longer available. The event used to have a shuttle service to get to the event.
"Just with the growth in Summerville, some of the places we had used in the past for people to park in that were empty locations, now have construction going on," Summerville YMCA Communications Coordinator Kristin Fry said.
One of those sites was the former Hoover Car parking lot off Old Trolley Road. That business is now back up and running. The other was the parking lot where the old Kmart was at the intersection of 78 and Berlin G. Myers. That site is now under construction for a new gas station and several other businesses.
Parking will now be a challenge trying to find spots along streets.
"We put a barricade up," Summerville resident Jerry Ashley said. "Just a little caution tape to make sure people don't drive all over out yard."
Ashley has lived at his house right next to the festival for 27 years. He said he started putting up caution tape two years ago after people were parking in the area.
"If it does rain it just chews it up," Ashley said. "I spent a lot of time repairing after. We talked to the YMCA and the police and they said to go ahead and do that."
While there are area businesses and churches nearby, you could have to pay.
"They typically do have a fundraiser for their church, so some do offer parking, but it may be a small additional charge or donation to their church," Fry said.
Meanwhile event staff was busy setting up for the weekend. Vendors were getting their sections blocked off Tuesday, ahead of their arrival Thursday.
Organizers are will also be watching the weather forecast closely since it shows rain Friday and Saturday.
"We have our rain boots ready," Fry said. "The event is rain or shine so we're going to be as prepared as we can be."
One way you'll be able to find out about cancellation or early closing is through the festival's new mobile app. It will be able to push an alert to you for the update, among other benefits.
"It's a free app and it's really going to help you navigate who is at the festival this year," Fry said. "As well as help you get to who you want to see, what taste vendors and artisans are here for this year."
The app can be downloaded onto iPhones and Android phones.
As for road closures, they will remain the same as in years past. South Main Street to West Carolina Avenue and all secondary streets off South Main will be blocked. To direct Northbound and Southbound traffic, South Gum and South Magnolia will be diverted to one-way streets.
The festival begins Friday at 9 a.m. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.
This is the Summerville YMCA's largest fundraising event of the year benefiting health and wellness programs in the Tri-County.