Atlantic Beach Bikefest goers: 'Where are all the people?'
ATLANTIC BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Memorial Day weekend in Atlantic Beach means one thing: Bikefest. For many, it's a weekend they look forward to all year. But this year, one thing seemed to be missing: the people.
“I’m wondering where all the people are. What happened to the crowds? Why did everyone stay home?" Jesse Edwards, who is visiting from Daytona Beach, said.
Edwards, like many, has been coming to this event for years and says this year is a let-down.
“I think I’m having fun because I’m with people that I have fun with, but as far as the whole atmosphere of what I’ve seen before, I don’t think so," he said.
People have many theories as to why the crowds have dwindled.
“The way they’ve got traffic set up, it’s kind of hard for people to maneuver around, so I think that’s why a lot of people are not coming because they don’t want to get stuck and have to ride all the way down to ride all the way back," Edward Washington, owner of The Party Box, said.
Other people think the threat of rain, and then the heat and humidity have kept some people away. The increased law enforcement is also a common thought as to why the crowd is smaller.
“The rules and regulations for them changed a little bit, getting a little tougher for the vendors as well as the bikers. So, hopefully, we can go back to the old days where we would just come out and have a good time," Greg McNeil, with the C&J Smack Your Lips food truck, said.
Despite the smaller crowds, vendors are staying positive.
“We hope that business picks up. It got a little shabby yesterday, but today we are expecting big things," McNeil said.
For the people who have never been to the Bikefest before, they don't know how it used to be. All they know is they are having a good time.
“I heard so many good things about it, for Bike Week, so my husband decided to surprise me and bring me," Cindy Richardson, who is visiting from North Carolina, said.
There are also rumblings that a lot of people are making their way to Miami, Florida, instead of coming to South Carolina.
Could this be the end of Bikefest? There are mixed answers, but for the people who call Bikefest a yearly tradition, you can be sure they'll be back next year.