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Murrells Inlet: Restaurants drop summer fireworks shows

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Marsh Walk restaurant owners have decided to discontinue their controversial weekly fireworks shows this summer in the interest of community harmony and a desire for a neighborly relationship between residential and commercial factions of Murrells Inlet.

Charlie Campbell, owner of the Dead Dog Saloon and representative of the Marsh Walk Group, told members of the community organization Murrells Inlet 2020 of the decision Wednesday. “We felt we owed it to Murrells Inlet 2020 to make the announcement here despite some recent bumps over the last few years,” Campbell said, “but that’s all they are — bumps.”

Campbell said a secondary factor entering into the decision is to allow time to research any potential dangers to the inlet resulting from fallout from the fireworks displays. Present research, he said, is inconclusive.

“I’m very proud of them for making this decision,” Campbell said. “They placed the community and the inlet above personal business interests.”

Monday Night Lights, a 10-week series of fireworks exhibits over the inlet the past two summers, divided the Murrells Inlet community with some residents going so far as to file noise ordinance violation charges against two employees of the company hired to detonate the fireworks.

Campbell said the Marsh Walk restaurant owners had gone back and forth in discussing the summer fireworks for the past six months. “It’s been difficult,” he said. “There is a tremendous amount of support for the fireworks. We tried to do what’s in the best interest of the community, and we believe we made the right decision.”

Campbell said the decision to discontinue the fireworks shows was not influenced by any third party’s opposition or threats of litigation. He said the Marsh Walk Group would attempt to redirect its marketing dollars into alternative forms of attractions to reward visitors.

Campbell said the group looked into a laser light show but found it to be a “six-figure deal” that is economically unfeasible. “We thought that might be fun until we saw the cost,” he said. The goal is to market the Marsh Walk as a destination point. “We hope we can find alternative ways to do that without it being as disruptive as it’s been,” he said.

Campbell said the annual July 4 fireworks show may suffer the same fate because sponsors have backed off after getting critical letters from members of the community. “The jury is still out on that,” he said. “We will certainly try.”

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