There was a time when Sullivan’s Island had the quietest, most family-friendly beach in town.
Yeah, that was before Folly banned alcohol.
It seems that drinking on the beach at Sullivan’s is up significantly, and police have had to bring in reinforcements to make sure the scene doesn’t turn into a remake of that old beach movie classic, “Gidget goes Guzzling.”
This is getting ridiculous.
You may remember that Folly outlawed drinking on the beach after a July 4th melee last year finally gave locals the excuse they needed to put an end to years of boorish behavior. The migration to Sullivan’s makes little sense — one beach bans beers so everyone moves to a place that has prohibited alcohol even longer.
Shorter drive to break the law, that’s what it is.
Mayor Mike Perkis says Sullivan’s saw its holiday traffic triple over Memorial Day, and a number of those folks were partying down.
But don’t worry, Sullivan’s is still a family-friendly place.
That’s because the town decided to nip this problem in the Budweiser before the party buses start rolling up.
Ignorance of the law
There’s a rumor going around on Facebook that Sullivan’s Island is even checking coolers.
Uh, that’s illegal, and it’s not true.
Police can’t open your cooler without probable cause. For the record, probable cause would include staggering through the sand, using dunes for a bathroom or pulling a PBR out of your Igloo. Then they can search your cooler.
If caught, don’t expect to get off with a warning. Police are trying to send a signal — and a $1,040 fine comes in pretty loud and clear.
“This is the new reality, and we can’t put our heads in the sand,” Perkis says. “We have to do this for our residents and the 99 percent of visitors who behave on the island.”
Isle of Palms Mayor Dick Cronin says his beaches have been awash in suds since the Folly ban too. They haven’t had to increase patrols, but they are plenty busy.
“About 10 out of 10 they catch say they didn’t know it was illegal to bring alcohol on the beach,” Cronin says. “But it’s been that way for years.”
Yes, they ought to know, especially since some of them are the ones who messed things up in the first place.
Pray for poetic justice
Folly Mayor Tim Goodwin says things have been pretty calm on his beach this year.
But with the anniversary of the party bus meltdown coming Thursday, some locals are watching nervously. Of course, SLED is apparently coming in to watch too.
So you’ve been warned.
It is a crying shame that a working person can’t take a day off, sit on the beach and have a beer. It’s downright un-American, particularly on a holiday established for just that purpose.
Well, that and forming a new country. A little detail.
But Perkis is right, this is the new reality. A bunch of drunken idiots have ruined a good time for everyone else, and now we have to live with the consequences.
So have a dry ol’ time at the beach this holiday, and hope the only people ticketed are the ones who brought us to this sad state in the first place.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org