St. Patrick’s Day celebrations cause rift between city of North Myrtle Beach, downtown businesses

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations cause rift between city of North Myrtle Beach, downtown businesses

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The city of North Myrtle Beach and some downtown businesses are at odds about St. Patrick’s Day plans.

Despite the city canceling the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, several Main Street businesses are planning their own event.

The city of North Myrtle Beach posted a warning on its website, stating that law enforcement may need to get involved if anyone plans to attend an unpermitted parade in the downtown area.

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Despite the warning, the businesses are still pushing ahead in hopes to make some “green” after a slow winter season.

“It doesn’t even have to be considered an event,” said Whit’s Frozen Custard Owner Brittney Roberson. “People just want to go out and have fun. They want to go to their favorite places on this specific day.”

Roberson is looking forward to being the newest face on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. She plans on opening Whit’s Frozen Custard just before St. Patrick’s Day.

She’s hoping a pub crawl through Main Street will bring her some “luck” to take into tourism season.

“It’s about the small businesses,” said Roberson. “It’s about the community, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

Roberson, along with several other downtown businesses, attended a meeting on Tuesday at Buoys on the Boulevard to coordinate that pub crawl.

The city of North Myrtle Beach isn’t particularly excited about the event, especially after canceling the city-hosted St. Patrick’s Day celebration for a second year in a row.

“Many cities canceled their events,” said spokesperson Pat Dowling. “They’re not being replaced by private events of a similar nature because the basis for cancellation was that we still have a pandemic running rampant in this community, in this country and in this state.”

Weldon Boyd, the owner of Buoys on the Boulevard, has taken charge of the parade and continues to confront the city.

Boyd said the parade is important for the livelihood of downtown businesses.

“You have a great summer, then a terrible offseason, and you have to put away and save for that,” said Boyd. “If you don’t get that great summer, it’s hard to put away and save for it, which is why it’s more important than ever that this time, we get this event and it goes well.”

Boyd said he met with two city officials who agreed to a golf cart pub crawl down Main Street.

But Dowling said the city started to take issue after a recent Facebook post.

“A call for vintage cars, dance groups and sports teams to join what he is now calling a golf cart parade, that takes it to a whole other level,” said Dowling.

After that post, the city posted a warning on its website, citing City Ordinance 16-13. which states no one can call for a parade without permission from the City of North Myrtle Beach.

The warning said the city will “take the law enforcement action necessary to prevent the parade.”

“Stop being selfish,” said Dowling. “Go with the flow. we’ll get through this together. Everybody’s having a hard time.”

Boyd said plans haven’t changed since he met with the city, and he’s still pushing forward.

“I think we’re going to have an awesome day,” said Boyd. “I think a lot of people will be able to get out of the house, come out, celebrate life, enjoy each other. Come out and support small business.”

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