Special meeting called about rowdy crowd, mess from Folly Gras

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Folly Beach's City Council is holding a special meeting Wednesday to talk about Folly Gras 2017.

The event a week-and-a-half ago drew tens of thousands of people, and while it may be good for businesses, public safety says something needs to be done about the rowdy crowd and mess left behind.

Chief Andrew Gilreath, the Director of Public Safety for the City of Folly Beach, said the biggest issue they had this year was what he called the "lack of self-control on the part of the folks who came out," which he said included people drinking too much, littering and exhibiting poor behavior.

Gilreath wrote a letter to City Council with a summary of this past weekend's event.

"I will do my best to keep this information strictly to the point and attempt to leave personal feelings out of it so that you and council can discuss as you see fit," Gilreath wrote. "That being said, having worked from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. in such a difficult crowd, you might understand that keeping personal feelings out of it might be difficult."

Gilreath said the traffic count for Folly Gras was about 10,680 cars and most cars had multiple people in them.

"As you can imagine there were a lot of folks, packed into a relatively small area," Gilreath said.

On top of the crowd, Gilreath said they did not have enough personnel for such a big event.

"We had probably 14 of our guys, eight Constables, four agents from SC Probation and Parole, Medic #26 and one county deputy. We were understaffed. We're a small city and a relatively small department. We just can't staff for something that big. I felt like it overwhelmed our resources," Gilreath said.

There were 21 arrests, more than 30 citations given, and at least 150 parking tickets issued. In addition to that Gilreath said the amount of litter left behind was ridiculous.

"One of my people, alone, picked up 25 separate five-gallon buckets full of litter," said Gilreath. The street sweeper also reached capacity before it could complete its task because of so much litter.

As officials are looking back at this special meeting – they're hoping to correct mistakes for any events in the future. A St. Paddy's Day Pub Crawl is set for this weekend. Because it's not a festival-style event, though, there will be no open containers and no one will be allowed to drink outside of bars or restaurants.

Click here to read Gilreath's full report.

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