The Folly Beach Association of Business (FAB) and the City of Folly Beach today announced their decision to cancel the Folly Beach fireworks show scheduled for July 4th, 2020.
After discussions between the FAB board and city officials, along with a survey of the members of the association, it was determined that the fireworks display would create an environment that could pose a significant risk to the safety of the community.
A press release from FAB and the City of Folly Beach stated: “With social distancing concerns already plaguing area beaches, the City of Folly Beach cited the burden that throngs of people would place on Public Safety officials and security staff, when July 4th is already a busy beach day. With nearby communities announcing the cancellation of their fireworks displays, fear grew that the crowds on Folly Beach would be amplified and the risk to spectators and residents would escalate.”
To add to the concerns regarding crowd-size and social distancing, July 4th falls on a Saturday which the organization and city believed could increase the size of the crowds. Plus, the timing of the fireworks display would coincide with a high tide which would leave little room for people to gather on the beach.
“We have struggled with this decision,” FAB President, Lynn Oliver, said. “As an association, we take great pride in our ability to execute the fireworks displays and the festivals that bring visitors to our island to support our businesses. Ultimately it comes down to the city strongly urging us to not put the residents at risk, not knowing what coronavirus will look like in a month.”
“From a public safety/health standpoint, our 4th of July weekends are always very busy, and that’s with quite a few other options for people to go elsewhere,” Public Safety Chief Andrew Gilreath said. “Being the only fireworks show in town increases that concern for an unmanageable turnout. I am also concerned about being the first Lowcountry municipality to host a major event since this all started and the additional concerns that brings.”
FAB is a non-profit organization made up of Folly business owners.