Officials to discuss issues at last month's FollyGras celebration

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Folly Beach City Council will discuss February's massive FollyGras celebration, which some say didn't represent the city well.

Held Feb. 25, the event is described on as a beach-wide Mardi Gras-style celebration complete with live music, a parade and an all-day street party.

Officials say thousands attended.

In a summary of issues sent to city council members and Folly Beach Mayor Goodwin last week, Chief Andrew Gilreath said he'd try to keep things strictly to the point, but having worked from 8 a.m. that morning until 11 p.m. in "such a difficult crowd," "keeping personal feelings might be a bit difficult."

According to Gilreath, 21 people were arrested and 29 were given citations — nearly double that of last year. The arrests included DUI, theft, underage drinking, drugs, reckless driving and disorderly conduct.

Over 150 parking tickets were given and beach and parking patrol removed more than 25 five-gallon buckets of litter, according to the summary.

"Music was deafening between Snapper Jacks and St. James Gate, creating a rave-type atmosphere," the report states.

Gilreath said the Folly Beach Department of Public Safety isn't staffed or equipped to handle an event of such magnitude.

"With thousands of people both at the festival and enjoying the beach that day, there were a definitely a handful of people who were out of control," a news release from The Folly Association of Business, which took over the annual event in 2015, stated last week.

Lewis Dodson, the group's president, said his group wants to work closely with the city to map out a better plan for future festivals.

"It was the perfect storm. A gorgeous, 85-degree day in February is always going to cause crowds and traffic backup on the beach, but when that is combined with a big, popular event, it can become overwhelming," Dodson said.

A special meeting will be held at Folly Beach City Hall Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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