OMA, Myrtle Beach city leaders agree to close Ocean Boulevard during Sun Fun Festival

OMA, Myrtle Beach city leaders agree to close Ocean Boulevard during Sun Fun Festival

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of Myrtle beach wants the Oceanfront Merchants Association to support closing down a section
of Ocean Boulevard for certain events.

The Sun Fun Festival is coming back to Myrtle Beach in June, and OMA got the push from city leaders to close Ocean Boulevard around the event to traffic.

The idea is to model a day like Second Sunday in Charleston, where every second Sunday of the month, King Street closes to traffic and businesses sell and serve customers on the sidewalks and road.

While OMA voiced concerns, leaders said OK to test the idea.

"That 100 days of summer is still when the majority of businesses make their money for the rest of the year, and when you take away one of those days it's really scary for local area merchants," explained Michelle Kerscher, with OMA and Gay Dolphin.

The city believes the closure would give events a little something extra if there were no traffic or cars around everyone, which would allow the crowds to leave the sidewalks and spill onto the streets.

OMA officials said so many people end up in their district because they run into it while driving on Ocean Boulevard. They park, get out and discover the boardwalk area.

Between June and August, every single day is crucial and business owners don't want to experiment with the idea then. The city suggested the Sun Fun Festival is the perfect time as the area heads into the busy summer season.

"We'll use it as a test for a temporary road closure of Ocean Boulevard since there will be a festival going on," Kerscher said. "We'll invite the merchants to bring out and have sidewalk sales, to really try to create an atmosphere there as well."

City council will approve the final plans.

OMA is also planning to test the road closure experiment to see if it's successful during the slower season.  Right now, the city and OMA are looking at a day in October, possibly Oktoberfest.

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