On a warmer-than-expected January afternoon at Saturday’s Taste of Folly festival, it wasn’t a surprise that some in attendance seemed to favor lifting the ban on alcohol, or at least letting it go to a vote.
Granted, many of those there were not Folly Beach residents.
A Taste of Folly drew a large crowd, many of them strolling with beer or other mixed drinks in hand. It was at least the third time public alcohol consumption on Folly was allowed, for special one-day occasions, since last summer’s ban.
Among the Folly Beach residents were Bill and Vicki Smith, who each had rum punch drinks from Parrot Bay, and strongly favored the ban be taken to a vote, as the group “Voices of Reason — Folly Beach” is trying to do.
“I think they ought to give the people on Folly a chance to vote,” said Bill Smith. “If the majority of people, you know, say, ‘Hey, we don’t want it,’ then that’s fine. We’ll stick with that. But seven people (Town Council) telling me I can’t (drink on the beach) — I don’t think that’s fair.”
The Smiths, neither of whom making a living off alcohol sales on Folly, say they would vote “to keep Folly wet,” and that they moved to the city three years ago because they liked the laid-back lifestyle, which included drinking on the beach.
Joshua Ashy, 28, and Carly Kunz, 25, both of downtown Charleston, were sharing a bloody Mary Saturday and think the ban should be lifted or at least put to a vote.
Ashy said, “It’s nice to be able to play bocce, ladder ball or cornhole and have a beer in my hand.” He added that everything was fine on Folly Beach for years and that “people who weren’t even from here (the Charleston area) caused the problems.”
Sara Holstein of West Ashley and Nicole Chapman and Natasha Dobbins of James Island echoed the comments of others: The problem arose when a small group of people got out of hand and ruined the fun of the vast majority.
Holstein wondered what the difference is between drinking on the beach during the summer and on the street in January.
Folly Mayor Tim Goodwin said there’s a big difference between “an event on a couple of blocks on one day versus six and half miles of beach every day.”
He defended council’s decision to pass the ban, because it was elected to represent the residents of the island and received ample input on the matter.