From late Saturday night/early Sunday morning:
Things got a little less boring, unfortunately, late Saturday night. I got home about 2 a.m.
- Throughout the afternoon, traffic was heavy but not horrible, and I saw a ton of people doing the usual touristy things.
- We got the report about a possible shooting inside an oceanfront hotel a little after 11 p.m. (Story above.) Shortly before that, I watched an ambulance rush to a hotel near 7th Avenue North. Fortunately, when it got there, there was nothing major going on.
- I watched a few Bikefest participants approach an elderly homeless woman sitting alone and silent near a pizza shop just off Ocean Boulevard. They handed her some money, shook her hand and said have a good night.
- The idiot of the night was a dude, maybe just past midnight, who allegedly tried to punch a guy in another car through his car window. Of course, police responded and detained him. But while he was in the back of the squad car, he began rocking crazily and was removed. EMS checked him out and laid him on the ground. Soon, though, they knew he was faking, and he instantly jumped up, trying to run away. Where was he expecting to go given that a dozen police officers surrounded him? After they cuffed him again, he began yelling, “don’t kill me,” apparently to get sympathy or to make the cops feel guilt because of the general unrest that’s been going on in the country. How did the crowd respond? It laughed at him; there was no tension.
- A few minutes after the idiot was arrested, one of the SLED officers who arrested him was cracking jokes with a pair of young dudes on high-powered motorcycles.
- Overall, the crowd was just as I expected it would be, essentially taking part in a street festival atmosphere, and the cops were stern but professional and also engaging. Despite the occasional idiot, it felt like a typical summer weekend on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. Of course, the occasional idiot can be found during other weekends in Myrtle Beach as well.
Saturday late afternoon:
I spent a few hours in Atlantic Beach, where what could accurately be described as the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest is actually held. (’Bikefes’ in Myrtle Beach on Ocean Boulevard is Bikefest in name only, with no real organization.) What did I see? What I’ve usually seen in the town during this weekend, an open air festival that is family-friendly and loud because of the music blaring from a stage, being sung live by an elderly guy trying to sell tapes, and from speakers on high-powered motorcycles.
I also saw a variety of people - black and white, couples and singles, adults and children - walking up and down the streets in Atlantic Beach and buying food and wares from a wide variety of small businesses, as well as people walking and jogging on the beach.
I’ll be back on Ocean Boulevard and Broadway at the Beach and other hot spots through the night. Stay tuned ...
My verdict remains the same. The Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest this year, through Saturday morning, is as boring as I remembered it to be. Boring, for an old foogie like me, is a compliment. I saw several packed restaurants along Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach as Bikefest participants and other tourists flocked to pancake houses and the like.
Traffic along southbound Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach was heavy, as usual, and Ocean Boulevard, with its one-way traffic pattern, remains congested, which is unlikely to change until the crowd begins leaving Monday morning.
The Surfside Beach area was as quiet as it usually is this time of year, and there were a few joggers and walkers and a car show.
I’ll be in Atlantic Beach this afternoon, then traveling more throughout the hot spots along the Grand Strand later this evening and night. I hope it remains boring. Stay tuned ...
I take a stroll through the hotspots of the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest every year that I can (last year I was in Boston), and I began my travels Thursday evening. I’ve been covering the event for The Sun News since 1998.
This is what I’ve seen (and haven’t) so far:
More motorcycles earlier than I’ve seen before, but the crowd is about what I expected through early Friday afternoon.
I’ve seen no women in thongs on back of motorcycles, just one in a bikini bottom, something I see throughout the summer.
I’ve seen families - black and white and Hispanic - with young kids making their way up and down Ocean Boulevard and a few headed all the way to the oceanfront.
I saw two Myrtle Beach ambassadors in bright shirts speaking to a hotel guest. They are there to greet and answer questions for visitors.
I saw a ton of cops and mostly empty sidewalks on Ocean Boulevard. All the cops were nice; some of them waved and smiled.
I lasted maybe 20 minutes in the one-way traffic pattern on Ocean Boulevard before getting so bored I left the area.
So far: Bikefest is as boring as I’ve always found it to be, though this is coming from a married man with two kids who long ago forgot how to party. I’ll be out and about again later today and tomorrow; we’ll see how things change between now and then.