By Brian Sherman, The Island Eye News Editor
The Isle of Palms Street Festival & Movie, an annual holiday event originally scheduled for Dec. 5, has been canceled, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of amusements, food trucks, live music, arts and crafts vendors, an outdoor movie and curbside tents set up by local restaurants, the IOP Recreation Department is coordinating a drive-thru “Santa’s lane” at Front Beach so children can drop off their letters to Santa Claus, according to IOP City Administrator Desiree Fragoso.
The fate of the Street Festival was discussed at the IOP City Council’s Nov. 17 meeting, but, in the end, Council members chose not to place the item on their agenda, instead choosing to let city staff decide whether it would be safe to hold the annual event amid a
nationwide increase in coronavirus cases.
“This is a staff-level decision. There’s no way the Council should be weighing in on this,” said Council Member Phillip Pounds.
“I feel like we’re overstepping our bounds here.”
The vote to consider making a decision on the Street Festival failed by a 6-3 margin, with only Council Members Jimmy Ward, Ryan Buckhannon and Kevin Popson supporting the motion.
Though Ward pointed out that many local businesses were in favor of letting the show go on, most Council members, including Recreation Committee Chair Susan Hill Smith, agreed that it would be best to cancel the event.
“We’re in a really dangerous place as a country and a community,” Council Member John Moye commented. “I don’t see where we really have much of a choice.”
“It’s a difficult decision because it’s a great festival every year. But it’s absolutely the right decision,” Council Member Randy Bell added.
Fragoso agreed that postponing the Street Festival would be prudent, adding that “maybe we can have a bigger event in the spring if things look better.”