Sun Fun festival suspension hits home for residents

A 60-year-old staple of the Grand Strand is cancelled this year and some aren't happy.

Buzz Plyer is the owner of the Gay Dolphin in Myrtle Beach. His father, Justin Plyer, was one of many who helped bring the Sun Fun Festival to the beach in 1951.

"Dad was a visionary," said Buzz. His father past away nine years ago.

"He was an important part of the season, and he was an important part of Sun Fun."

Plyler said he was saddened by the news this year's Sun Fun Festival was cancelled.

"I am disappointed," said Plyler. "But I understand that problems are there and that the cold hard numbers dictate what people do."

And Plyler isn't the only one disappointed when organizers announced the event wasn't happening.

"It's like the pavilion being torn down," said Myrtle Beach resident Debbie Remmert. "It's like an icon gone."

Last Friday, festival organizers said they cancelled this year's event because of a decrease in attendance, and the event was no longer self-sustaining.

But both Plyler and Remmert said that's because they moved the event from it's original site at the Old Pavilion to The Market Common in 2008.

"People aren't used to change," said Remmert. "I don't think it got enough attention."

"I always though that it would be better to have the event on the waterfront where tourists would be more likely to come," said Plyler. "I didn't think that they would come three miles away from the beach."

Organizers said they plan to privatize and improve the event to potentially bring it back for 2013.

But for some like Plyler who have a deep connection, even taking the event out for a year means the Grand Strand is losing a little bit of what made it great.

"It's sad, certainly I had a great deal of sentimental attraction to it. I think that it could have been more successful. It's more difficult now to make a large number of people to come early and that was what the event was designed to do."