Horry County Councilman: Blue Crab festival still on

Next year's Little River Blue Crab Festival may be canceled. Or maybe not.

Vendors who have appeared at previous Blue Crab Festivals have been told the 2012 event was called off.

But Horry County Councilman Harold Worley, who represents the Little River area, says not so fast.

"The Blue Crab Festival belongs to the people of Little River and Horry County and it's going to happen this year, 2012," Worley said.

In a letter to vendors, the committee said it plans to use the next year to address issues of parking, transportation and security that have come up in recent festivals.

Worley said that just points to mismanagement and committee members should step aside and let new people come in. He said the committee had no authority to cancel the festival.

The organizer of the festival's beauty pageant didn't know the event had been canceled until she read an online news article Thursday.

She had already made plans for next year's pageant. Now, she said she's disappointed, and not sure what to do.

"I'm not cancelling the school where we have the pageant at, and wait and make sure, because it's been a total shocker," said pageant organizer Patricia Barfield.

Little River merchants say they weren't told of the cancellation, either.

The owner of an oceanfront restaurant said many people plan their vacations around the festival and merchants don't want to let those folks down, so they might put on their own event.

"Obviously, it means a lot for the businesses down here, not just the restaurants, but hotels, a lot of places depend on the blue crab. and it's a great event," said Betsy Farnsley, who owns Key West Crazy Restaurant.

Farnsley said the festival has some issues, but if everyone works together, they can address those and make the event better.

NewsChannel 15 attempted to reach festival chairman Allen Lee and vendor chairman Hubert Bullard. They did not return our calls.

The festival began in 1981. Last year's event attracted more than 45,000 people.