Tire-smoking burnouts, motorcycle wheelies banned from Folly Gras parade

A past Folly Gras parade runs down Center Street.

FOLLY BEACH — Stunts like gunning the engine to smoke the tires are banned from the ninth annual Folly Gras parade Saturday.

“No burnouts in the cars,” said Ben Bounds, festival director.

And motorcyclists must keep both wheels on the ground.

“You can loose control when you pop a wheelie so just don’t do it,” he said.

Lowrider cars that bounce on hydraulically-operated suspensions also got the boot. The attention-grabbing tricks are too dangerous on a street lined with vendors and parade watchers who line Center Street, he said.

“We don’t need the showboating. We just need people to roll through, throw some beads, smile and get on through the deal so we can start the party afterwards and everybody is safe,” Bounds said.

Motorist sobriety and breathalyzer checks before the procession starts at noon are a possibility, he added.

The parade is expected to have about 20 cars and trucks and just as many golf carts. Kids and their pets, skateboarders, bicycles, scooters and mopeds will follow.

Police Chief Andrew Gilreath said the new rules for parade management were a “no-brainer.” Safety is the top priority, he said.

“Folks that are driving in parades often forget at the end of the day they are operating a vehicle on public roads,” he said.

Other new measures for this year’s Folly Gras will include wristbands to identify legal drinkers and portable toilets to ease bathroom lines.

The record turnout at last year’s event led to public drunkenness and trash left in neighborhoods, critics said.

As a result, Mayor Tim Goodwin appointed a three-member committee to review Folly Gras and other street parties including the Taste of Folly, FollyPalooza, the Sea & Sand Festival and the New Year’s Eve Flip Flop Drop.

Folly Gras, which is inspired by the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration, drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 last year. It provides a key boost to island businesses in the off-season, said Lewis Dodson, president of the Folly Association of Business.

“You are talking one day that pays the rent,” he said.

The Folly Gras parade begins at noon, and the street party from 1 to 5 p.m.

Goodwin said the Folly Gras crowd is weather-dependent. The forecast calls for a high temperature of 50 degrees. Skies will be mostly cloudy with a little rain late in the afternoon.

“You never know about this one. We’re going to see how it goes,” he said.