Media Release: Folly Beach Association of Business to Work Closely with the City to Address Crowd Issues During This Year’s Folly Gras
Folly Beach, SC – While last weekend’s Folly Gras event on Folly Beach was a huge revenue generator for the island’s businesses, it has also drawn negative feedback from some. The annual event, which was previously organized by the city but has been organized by The Folly Association of Business (FAB) since 2015, took place on Saturday, February 25, 2017 and drew record crowds.
FAB President, Lewis Dodson, says, “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.”
Knowing that the weather was forecasted to be sunny and warm, the event’s planners started preparing for a larger than usual crowd. “On Wednesday of last week, we increased event staff and reached out to the police chief to talk through security issues,” explains Dodson. “We contacted the Charleston County Police to hire more off-duty officers, but, unfortunately, we could not get a reply.”
Dodson and the FAB committee plan to work closely with the City of Folly Beach to map out a plan to control negative instances during festivals moving forward. “We normally see 4,000 to 5,000 people for FollyGras. To try to deal with double that, was definitely a challenge and we prepared as best we could. We love our citizens and we love our locals. We are all locals ourselves, which is why we are listening to all feedback and are going to work closely with the city and the Folly police to come up with a plan to allow visitors to enjoy what we have to offer and still keep Folly Beach the fun, funky place it has always been,” says Dodson.
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. While the event encourages both locals and out of towners to have fun, FAB has stated explicitly that they do not condone excessive partying or littering.