Folly Beach New Year’s Eve Flip Flop Drop will be virtual event

Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 4:49 PM EST
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FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - The annual Folly Beach New Year’s Eve Flip Flop Drop will look a little bit different this year.

Instead of blocking off a section of Center Street and dropping a giant pair of flip flops from a fire truck, this year it will be streamed online. Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin says the New Year’s Eve event usually draws huge crowds.

“We don’t block Center Street off until typically right before but the crowd would block Center Street,” Goodwin said. “Unfortunately, with the pandemic this year we are trying to avoid the crowds so we aren’t going to have a party. We’re not going to have a DJ.”

The city will still drop the iconic footwear when the clock strikes midnight, but crowds will not be allowed to gather.

Goodwin says there is a big push to maintain some level of normality so they felt compelled to continue the 10-year-old tradition, even if that means streaming it online.

“It’s tough because for the people that come to the parades or come to the flip flop drop, that’s their normal,” Goodwin said. “When your normal continues to be upset like it has all year, it’s tough to make that decision. But we have to try and think of what’s good for the whole.”

Goodwin says he takes full responsibility for the decision. While a lot of factors went into it, like planning timelines and reservations schedules, the sharply rising number of COVID-19 cases was a major consideration.

“In this pandemic our number one priority is to not create a super-spreader event,” Goodwin said. “We don’t want to do something that will infect our citizens for a ‘feel good’ kind of thing. We have to learn how to feel good about other things like Zoom meetings.”

Brian Price is a local who has watched the flip flop drop in person in years past. He says he understands the city’s decision to scale it back.

“Personally, it doesn’t bother me because I wasn’t going to come to this one anyways just because of everything that is happening right now,” Price said. “Especially with the vaccine so close to being on its way. If we can stick it out for a few more months, I think we will be going in the right direction.”

Other events, like the Yorktown Countdown at Patriots point are still scheduled.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has already approved the Yorktown Countdown event for 1,000 people. The event is being put on by Special Ops Event. Owner Robert Patterson say they scaled back capacity to 50% and will stagger entry. He says the annual party is extremely important for the event industry.

“Without it, it would be extremely difficult to survive the winter,” Patterson said. “Small businesses have taken the pandemic on the chin and the event industry is sort of the last one to come back.”

Also working against large events are the guidelines that prevent alcohol sales after 11 p.m. Several private businesses with New Year’s Eve events have already indicated they will shut down at 11 p.m.

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