ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Atlantic Beach Police say overnight biker traffic appeared to be nearly double that seen at this time last year. Atlantic Beach Police Chief Eric Lewis says he has been working hard to prepare for those crowds with the help of other state and local agencies.
Tents set up by the National Guard off of US-17 mark a new command center for Atlantic Beach's bikefest. Lewis says the post is a new addition this year. The tents and adjacent building will serve as a central place for assisting agencies like the South Carolina Highway Patrol and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) if they need to grab a drink or find some shade.
"I need to show the officers that I appreciate having them here in Atlantic Beach and what they're doing here," Lewis said.
In addition to law enforcement agencies, Lewis says he has been working closely with the state's Department of Transportation.
"[We're] trying to get all of the roads and stuff closed down," he said, "and proper traffic patterns set up."
Lewis also arranged to have fuel brought to Atlantic Beach instead of sending officers out to the pumps.
"The last couple years we have always had to go up to Circle K to get fuel and stuff for our golf carts," Lewis explained, noting in the past they even made trips back and forth with fuel cans. "[Now] I'll be able to fuel up all my vehicles instead of having to drive over to city limits."
Lewis says he is thankful he has not had to start from scratch with preparations since Atlantic Beach Bikefest is an established event.
"What I've stepped into, thank goodness, is an event that has been going on for years," Lewis said. "It was just a blessing."
According to the town, weekend festivities within town limits include stunt shows, a wheelie machine and live music.