Events canceled as officials question strength of Folly pier

Folly Beach pier

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- There's concern at the beach. First it was with the washing away of Folly Beach County Park and the erosion of beach area and dunes. Now, officials find themselves focusing their attention at another potential problem -- the pier.

Hurricane Irene made an impact.

Officials with the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission confirmed on Tuesday that the commission is currently contracting with structural engineers who will report on the pier's structural integrity.

For now, the pier is still open for daily visitors. But, large events at the pier have been canceled.

Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission Director of Operations, Phil Macchia, said on Tuesday the decision was proactive in nature and not a reaction to any obvious damage at the pier.

"Obviously we started at Folly Beach County Park with some damage done there," he said. "Then, obviously, as we worked our way up the beach we though putting a large amount of people on the pier may not be a good idea."

Two upcoming events impacted by the concern are the remaining Moonlight Mixers scheduled for 2011. Scheduled for Friday, September 23 and October 7, the two events normally attract hundreds of people. County officials are now working to get the word out to ticket holders.

"We normally accommodate up to 600 participants per event who are all dancing on the pier diamond," said parks and recreation commission spokesperson Sarah Reynolds.