As an annual visitor to the Myrtle Beach area in South Carolina (a very beautiful state, I might add) I try to keep up with what’s going on there, at least concerning things we like to do when visiting. Several years ago, the Myrtle Beach Pavilion was shut down after decades of delighting not only the locals, but vacationers like myself and my family. The Pavilion was a small amusement park that took up a block in downtown Myrtle Beach. It was clean, had quite a few rides and attractions and one hell of a wooden rollercoaster. Apparently, however, there were/are some really cranky people running Myrtle Beach who thought the Pavilion was an eyesore and attracted the ‘wrong crowd.’ Apparently, families and teenagers are the wrong crowd since they are the ones I saw there every time I went. So, city council set about to run the Pavilion out of the city. At least, this is my interpretation of what was going on. City council wanted the area so that more upscale development could take place and the city could then attract a better group of vacationers: those with LOTS and LOTS of disposable income. The idea of being the every person’s vacation spot must not appeal to those in charge. They detest it so much that this past year they took steps to keep a couple of motorcycle oriented events away from the area. Heaven forbid people should come there and spend.
So, once the park was closed and demolished, plans were announced that would not only bring said upscale development to the area, but would also introduce a few amusement park like attractions, with one plan calling for a rollercoaster that would be integrated into the development. One of the many plans bandied about almost got off the ground with a developer being retained. The developer, though, was shady and, after a few scandals, the plan was shelved. Now, three years later, the land sits empty with only some rubble that was left when the Pavilion was destroyed.
This week, the city unveiled its latest grand scheme for the land: outdoor concerts and festivals. The city has leased the land from Burroughs and Chapin for public use. Yep. Concerts and festivals. I wonder what kind of people they will attract. Certainly not the type to swill down seven dollar coffees and wear eighty dollar shirts. Nice.
The remnants of the Pavilion can be found in a few places. The wonderful and historic carousel, the swinging pirate ship and a few kiddie rides are now at B&C’s Broadway at the Beach shopping and entertainment complex in a small area called the Pavilion Nostalgic Park. The trains from the wooden rollercoaster are being used by the Kings Island theme park on the Son of Beast rollercoaster (which is currently not operating.) Other rides from the park have been sold while many were just destroyed. Like the haunted house and that wooden rollercoaster, which was pretty new and cost millions to build.
Myrtle Beach is an area of contrasts and is an enigma to me. You can ride down beach road and see well maintained and thriving areas and then, the next block looks like all hell broke loose while yet the next is clean and looks nice. If they truly want to make a great impression, they really need to fix the real issues they have instead of tearing down the few things that would bring some enjoyment.
At least the Family Kingdom is still there. I suppose the city has some grand scheme for it as well. Oh, and there’s still LOTS and LOTS of mini golf.