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Orange Crush founder talks restriction, challenges in event’s history

As a 19-year-old Savannah State University student in 1988, Kenneth Flowe knew he had to be strategic when getting a permit to host the first iteration of Orange Crush. However, he pulled the permit for the pavilion in November ― five months before the April beach bash he planned for Tybee Island.

“We figured they would try to figure out ways to block us from accessing the beach,” Flowe said.

Flowe, who is credited with founding Tybee Island’s Orange Crush, sees parallels between his experience creating the event, historic treatment of Black beachgoers and restrictions being put in place for the 2024 event on the island, including blocked roads and extreme parking restrictions.

Map posted by Tybee Island of traffic during the Orange Crush weekend.

“I think it’s horrendous they’re doing all this because this is a public beach,” Flowe said. “I think that it’s important for African Americans to be able to access public space without being harassed by policy makers. When you take that tactic, then you get folks who are saying, ‘I’m coming on that beach, come hell or high water.'”

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