Message From The Sullivan’s Island Mayor: Is Independence Day The Only Holiday Deserving Of Fireworks?

tors and some variable weather, but, blessedly, no serious incidents. The day got off to a great start with our traditional golf cart and bike parade. We had 46 golf carts registered for the decoration competition, and a total of 85 who joined the parade. 

The winners in the golf cart decoration competition were: 

1. Christy Horwitz: “Runaway Crabs”

 2. Grace Cowan: “Top Gun” 

3. Cathy Curtis: “Gnome of the Brave” 

Congratulations to our winners, and to everyone who entered the competition or otherwise participated in our traditional parade. The day ended with a return of our party in Stith Park, with music by the Shem Creek Boogie Band (for which we thank Fire Chief Anthony Stith and our Fire and Rescue Squad volunteers), which was followed by the fireworks!

Thank you to our great Town staff who made our holiday weekend events possible and safe for us and our visitors: our Police officers, Fire and Rescue staff and volunteers, Maintenance staff, and Town Hall staff (especially the parade wranglers!). And our Town Administrator, Andy Benke. This weekend holiday for us is the longest working weekend of the year for these folks. We have a magnificent staff. Please thank them when you see them. And a giant tip o’ the hat to our Town Council Recreation Committee who led these events: Kaye Smith, Justin Novak and Greg Hammond. 


As noted, we also had a return of the annual Independence Day fireworks show for the first time in three years. I thought it was magnificent, and a number of folks told me they were happy to see the return. Thanks to Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics (Lexington, SC) for a great show! This year we will again have our COVID-prompted December fireworks show as part of the Holiday Lighting Ceremony, so stand by for info on that in a few months.

Which takes me to a question: COVID forced us to bag the Independence Day fireworks in 2020 and 2021 and we pivoted to the December fireworks in 2020 (mostly unannounced as an isolated event, of necessity) and 2021 (well-announced and accompanied by the lighting ceremony and Wando Chorus). Those were all well-received, based on informal comments I’ve received. Going forward, what do you think about continuing both of these fireworks shows? Or if you don’t think we should do both, which would you keep? Please email me at the address at the end of this. I’m just trying to get a sense of our community, so while I may summarize the results of this very unscientific survey, I won’t label any responses with names. 


 We’re also in a high season for golf carts, judging from the traffic on our streets. They are undoubtedly a great way to move along the island streets in an open manner that allows interaction with neighbors, much more than slipping along in an enclosed car or SUV. So you might be feeling a late afternoon sea breeze, and thinking: “What a great time to take the fam out on the golf cart! Spouse and I can take a couple adult beverages, give the 14-year-old a chance to practice driving skills, afford the younger ones a chance to enjoy riding without being lashed into seat belts, and we can all watch the sun go down and return after dark.” Anything wrong with this picture? 

Or easier, anything right? With apologies for being a buzzkill, please be aware of the State laws that govern use of golf carts and “Low Speed Vehicles” on public roads, and thereby our island roads (which are almost all owned by the state). The driver of a golf cart or LSV on a public road must have in hand a valid driver’s license (sorry, 14 year olds) and vehicle registration for the cart. 

Open container laws (regarding alcoholic beverages) apply to golf carts and LSVs. And unless it’s an LSV, it can’t be driven on public roads after dark.

Regarding seat belts, they may or may not be required by state law, but the laws of physics should be convincing: If your child is not safe unbelted inside an SUV, why would he or she be safe unbelted in an open lightweight vehicle. 

The other vehicle, and the pavement, are just as hard in any case. Please review some of the regs at or state statutes 56-2-105 (golf carts) and 56-2-100 (LSVs).


As mentioned in last month’s column, it’s also the time of year when we have vacancies occurring on our Town Boards and Commissions: Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning Commission, Design Review Board, Tree Commission and Municipal Election Commission. 

Service on any of these Town groups is a wonderful way to learn more about the functioning of our Town government while giving back to your community. Please look into these opportunities. 

Space does not permit serving up all the relevant information here, but you can learn more at this page of the Town website: BandCApplication 

See you around the island! 

Pat O’Neil, Mayor 

(843) 670-9266 

Twitter: @oneilpm1 

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