Mayor: FollyGras visitors showed 'total disregard for city, the beach'
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) —
There's no question. A quick cruise through social media feeds shows a lot of people having a good time at FollyGras on Saturday. But for some, the crowds attracted to the island community weren't worth what was left when the festival was over and the streets were clear.
Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said the total number of people visiting the community this year for the street festival was large. He said it was so large it had outgrown the city's ability to "effectively handle that many drunk people."
The mayor said many visitors showed "total disregard for our city, the beach and mostly, the residents."
Folly Beach police responded to 134 calls for service during the festival. That's nearly double the number of calls from 2016. There were also 21 arrests made, which is more than the sum of arrests in 2016, 2015 and 2014.
Folly Beach Police Chief Andrew Gilreath said arrests were made for DUI, open container, underage consumption, theft, robbery, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, reckless driving and drugs. The police chief said there was also an record number of citations issued (29) for littering, open container, speeding, disregarding stop signs and trespassing.
"I think most citizens are ready to say, enough already," Mayor Goodwin said.
The mayor said events like FollyGras cost the city and the residents in taxes. He said it's a lot of money for no return in earnings.
As far as the businesses which benefit from the event, Mayor Goodwin said their fate is up to the vote of city council. The topic is expected to a focus of discussion at the next city council meeting on March 14.
Business owners on Folly Beach told us they brought in record profits at this year's FollyGras. It's believed as many as 10,000 descended on the Edge of America for the event.