St. Patty's Day weekend event crowds could mean changes in 2013

Myrtle Beach officials say the Pee Dee Street Rodders Run to the Sun Car Show and the St. Patrick's Day Festival, had bigger crowds than they expected.
Myrtle Beach officials say the Pee Dee Street Rodders Run to the Sun Car Show and the St. Patrick's Day Festival, had bigger crowds than they expected.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The City of Myrtle beach says the two big events over St. Patty's Day weekend were a huge success, but now it's time to look to next year. John Pedersen, Assistant Manager for the City of Myrtle Beach, says the Pee Dee Street Rodders Run to the Sun Car Show and the St. Patrick's Day Festival, had bigger crowds than they expected.

At a City meeting on Wednesday, officials addressed concerns from each of these events. The St. Patrick's Day Festival held along Ocean Blvd on Saturday drew in thousands. At times,  the packed crowd created safety concerns for the city. That's why City officials are  talking to the Oceanfront Merchants Association, which organized the festival, about changing the layout of the event. The idea is to give enough room for emergency crews access through the large crowd. Right now, they're considering moving the stage to the Old Pavilion Site.

"[We're considering] whether the venue can continue to hold it or whether we need to expand the venue and make the footprint bigger so that the crowd is not as dense. That way if we have to get our emergency vehicles out here, they have access to do it," explained Pedersen.

At Pee Dee Street Rodders Run to the Sun Car Show, parking can be a problem. According to Pedersen, the venue for this event, the Old Myrtle Beach Mall parking lot,  doesn't offer enough parking for event goers.

This is why city busses are provided to shuttle people to and from the event's offsite parking. But, the higher attendance this year created long lines at the shuttle stops and  city officials want to up the number of buses to avoid the long lines and keep the parking situation under control.

"There were more people in the lines to and from the shuttle bus. They were longer then they had been in the past. We want to make sure the people enjoy their time at the festival, but then when they're ready to leave, they don't have to wait a half hour, 45 minutes for a bus to get them back," said Pedersen.

Pedersen also mentioned none of these changes are set in stone right now. Over the course of the next few months, city officials will continue to work with the event organizers on addressing these concerns.

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