GALVESTON — Call it the Beach Party that never was.
Despite promotions for a Saturday party named after an annual event that gridlocked the island and sent locals into howls of protests, the so-called Beach Party didn’t seem to impact the island at all.
Galveston police department’s intelligence unit was monitoring the island this weekend looking for any problems that could be associated with a mass influx of people, police Chief Henry Porretto said. But the only thing police found was a typical springtime crowd.
“We had a big crowd, but we didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary,” he said.
According to police reports, criminal activity was lighter this weekend than in recent weekends. During the weekend of April 5-6, Galveston police recorded 81 incidents, including four driving while intoxicated arrests, five drug possession arrests and 10 public intoxication arrests. The following weekend, police recorded 77 incidents, including six arrests on DWI charges, five for drug possession and 21 for public intoxication.
This weekend, as of late Sunday, police had recorded 19 incidents, including only one DWI charge, one drug possession charge and seven public intoxication charges.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that a Houston entertainment promoter was promoting an event on Twitter called #TexasBeachParty2K14.
While most of the parties comprising the event were at Houston nightclubs, the promoter said he planned an event in Galveston on Saturday that he expected would draw 500 to 2,000 people.
The name “Beach Party” doesn’t bring back fond memories for some islanders.
Started in the 1990s as a small gathering of members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity in Houston, the Beach Party morphed at its peak into a three-day event that drew thousands of mostly African-American youngsters who walked or drove their cars along Seawall Boulevard.
Locals complained that the gridlock caused by so many cars trapped them in their homes. Complaints of lewd and reckless behavior caused many businesses to close down for the weekend.
The city began planning for the annual event toward the end of the 1990s, with a task force of city officials mapping out traffic control and law enforcement plans to keep cars moving and eliminate tawdry behavior. Eventually, the event petered out after Hurricane Ike hit Galveston in 2008.