The Galveston Beach Party is over

April 17, 2008 8:35:32 AM PDT
It's a party that used to draw thousands of people to Galveston Island. Now, "Galveston Beach Party" has been called off. When I started covering this event 20 years ago, traffic was so bad you could hardly get on the island. Today there is hardly any sign the event is coming.

The city of Galveston put out barricades just in case of big crowds, saying that a cancelled Beach Party weekend does not cancel its responsibility for public safety.

"We are definitely providing public safety, sanitation and refuse," said city spokesperson Alicia Cahill.

In years past, predominantly African-American, college aged students from across the nation crowded on Galveston for the yearly event. At times traffic hit a standstill, sometimes reaching to Texas City.

Resident Carl Jones said he will miss the event.

"I have teenagers and I know they like to go to the beach," he said.

Galveston promoter Tim Day, who officially cancelled the event, wants the event to take on a different focus. Instead of a party, he wants the young people to focus on job recruiting opportunities.

"It wasn't about the money coming in," he said. "It was about me wanting to make it into a college and job fair weekend, point blank."

Merchants didn't want to comment about the cancellation, only saying it was an event that traditionally did not bring a lot of money into the stores.

"Most businesses don't get money," said resident Gerard Drechsel. "They come in their own cars, with their own ice chests and food, and just drove around, tying up traffic."

Even if the event has been cancelled, the city says the good weather brings lots of folks out and it will be prepared for large crowds.

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