Mike Boston and his wife Jennifer shopped at a souvenir shop for just the right t-shirt for their grandchild. They're from Pearland and wanted to get to Galveston early.
Mike said, "We were aware of Beach Party weekend, or the Kappa weekend as it once was known, and I said, 'We'd better get down there early.' We were certain there would be so many tourists there, the streets are going to be full, and there's nowhere to park or ride. Today, to our surprise, we got out to ride around and look. There's basically nobody here!"
The crowds of Beach Party weekend have diminished every year. Last year, the event reportedly lost money. This year, organizers canceled the event, yet the city is prepared if crowds unexpectedly return. Barricades are already stacked but not placed. But diverting traffic has, in the past, meant diverting business at Mario's restaurant on the seawall.
Mario's owner Johnny Smecca said, "It's been a tough situation for us on the seawall. Whenever they have to do any type of traffic control, or even closing the seawall down, it's always been an issue for us on the seawall because it kills our business."
In years past, predominately black college aged students from schools across the country crowded onto the island to celebrate the event that was eventually called Beach Party weekend, creating bumper to bumper traffic. That was then. Today the beach was relatively empty except for a few hardcore surfers.
"That is very sad, but Galveston is still a fun place to be and I love it," said tourist Jennifer Boston.
Although party organizers say the event has been cancelled, Galveston city officials say they are prepared if there is a sudden surge in crowds coming to the island for the weekend.
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