GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas — There was rough surf on Monday at Crystal Beach in Galveston County. It was a rough weekend at the beach, too.
“I stayed off the beach Saturday, it got too crazy,” says Patrick McKinzy.
McKinzy cut his gig short, as an Elvis Impersonator, when people started getting hurt during the wild “Go Topless Galveston” Jeep Weekend event.
"Not worth it. Not worth dying over,” he tells KHOU.
The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office says the weekend was filled with hundreds of 911 calls, and more than 100 arrests on the Bolivar Peninsula. A portion of those arrests were alcohol-related.
Officials say there were a number of collisions on the road-ways, and six people were hospitalized. Some party-goers were seen falling out of vehicles, and hitting their heads. One young woman is reportedly in a coma.
“There were loud trucks, 4-wheelers, anything you can imagine, running up and down the high-way, ambulances, helicopters,” says business-owner Kevin Kavanagh.
Kavanagh has run a wood-sculpture business near the beach for 15 years. He says the combination of warm weather and the power of social media drew a larger-than-usual crowd this year. He’s not in favor of putting the reigns on the popular event.
“No, it’s not possible, it’s a free public beach, you can’t limit it,” he tells us.
However, thousands of residents are demanding that. They’ve signed a petition to end the “Go Topless” weekend event.
Their goal is 15,000 signatures. As of Monday afternoon, there were more than 11,000.
The Bolivar Peninsular Chamber of Commerce responded to one petition organizer by stating in an email:
“We will be working with County and State agencies to see what can be done by law, to help alleviate issues of this nature.”
We reached out to the Chamber of Commerce for a comment about the petition but have not heard back.
Residents and business owners are now bracing for another big turn-out this holiday weekend. They expect large, but tamer, crowds because it is typically more family-oriented.