Feb 25 2014

Sun Shines on 7th Annual Folly Gras

Folly Beach is home to numerous events and festivals throughout the year, but Folly Gras is one of the largest Folly events we’ve experienced over the last year.  The City of Folly is the official sponsor of Folly Gras, and it’s the only festival hosted by the city each year.  Mary Cunningham, the Municipal Clerk for the City of Folly, said Folly Gras was started to promote Folly businesses during the slow winter months.  Warm, spring-like weather, hundreds of people decked out in Mardi Gras attire, and talented musicians created an ideal atmosphere for a successful Folly Gras.

Center Street was closed and filled with kids, dogs, and people gathering around to see their favorite bands.  Center Street restaurants set up outdoor bars for patrons who remained outside to enjoy all of the Folly Gras festivities.  Frozen drinks, Bloody Marys, and Mimosas were enjoyed by the crowd decked out in Mardi Gras beads.  The roof of Snapper Jack’s was packed with people who were watching the crowds and bands below on Center Street. Gumbo, oysters, and beans and rice were served at various locations. 

A large crowd gathered around Charleston’s Gaslight Street as the talented sextet played their notable blues and soul infused tunes. Gaslight Street’s soul sound has earned them national attention as Relix Magazine named the featured the band in the “Artists You Should Know about section, according to Gaslight Street’s website.  We were excited to catch Hollow Point as they played classic and modern rock covers, the Center Street crowed enjoyed singing along.  The female lead, Denise Hunt, belted out Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, and The Cars.  Two of the Lowcountry’s favorite cover bands, the Shakin’ Martini’s and Soul Fish played, had the Center Street crowd dancing as well.

We saw couples and groups of friends dressed in full Mardi Gras attire.  Jester hats, masquerade masks, Mardi Gras beads, capes, and dresses were worn by most people adorned Mardi Gras attire.  Dogs walked the street wearing tutus, beads, and colorful clothing.  Kids were dressed in Mardi Gras dresses and masks as they danced with adults to some Grateful Dead songs and Mardi Gras inspired tunes played by Hungry Monks.  The Hungry Monks are Pour House regulars and have been heard at Piccolo Spoleto, The Savannah Folk Festival, and the Great Lakes Guitar Festival.  Because of the positive response of the crowd, Cunningham has asked the band to return next year.    

Cunningham told us 4,500 people came out for Folly Gras this year.  There were so many people that all the bars were at capacity and people had to stand outside.  Outside vendors were not allowed to participate in Folly Gras, so Folly Gras goers enjoyed all food and drinks that were made by Folly restaurants and bars.  Folly Beach held a contest for best Mardi Gras food and BLU Restaurant and Bar won 1st place for their Cajun fish tacos and Whoopi King Cake.  2nd place went to The Grill and Island Bar for their muffulettas and bread pudding, and 3rd place was awarded to Surf Bar for their Cajun Jambalaya. 

The parade brought out the creativity in the crowd and it was tough crowning the float and costume winners.  Best Costume was awarded to the 12 foot tall court jester.  “Days of Folly” won in the Best Float category, the Best Golf Cart award went to the Folly Jesters who sported a huge crown on their golf cart, and the Folly Spirit award went to the King Poseidon costume and the lady with feather boas attached to her chicken wire skirt. 

Cunningham also told us that Folly Gras has never been rained out.  Since this was the 7 annual Folly Gras celebration, we hope Folly Beach continues to see many more successful and rain free Folly Gras events.    

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