Two police officers clad in signature Folly Beach polos pulled up to a large and rowdy crowd gathered on the beach on Monday. “Everyone here over 21?” the male officer inquired. The group, comprised of young professionals in their twenties and thirties, nodded confidently. “And you don’t have any kegs, right?” An uneasy silence fell. Awkward beat.

Then, a sole fist flew up cheering “U-S-A.” The owner of the fist was Katie Crona, a petite blonde sporting star-spangled surf shorts, an “I heart USA” tee, and an American flag towel tied around her neck like a cape. Soon the whole mass began chanting along, the volume of the words increasing, rising above the roar of the ocean. Convinced that the group posed no threat to fellow patriots or the environment, the police hopped into their sand cruiser and sped off. It was 10:30 a.m. and the 4th 4th on 4th had begun. To clarify, that’s the fourth annual 4th of July party held on Folly Beach’s 4th Street station.

The event’s unofficial host, Bruce Dunbar, arrived at dawn to plant his flag — three large American flags to be exact — on a prime quadrant of beach. As he’s done for years now, he erected a modest tailgating tent, the inside of which was covered in graffiti from Independence Day celebrations past. Guests were eased into the morning with gallons of Bloody Marys and mimosas. An impressive stereo system blasted songs from frat parties past and present. The two card tables set up inside the tent filled up with guest offerings ranging from Bojangles fried chicken to homemade gin buckets.

Hoards of downtowners emerged from two taxi vans, unloading dozens of coolers, umbrellas, and frisbees. By early afternoon bikini-clad dancers perch on coolers, like sirens attracting unassuming beach-goers to the party. Friendly croquet games grew heated as Solo cups were drained. At six p.m., Dunbar surveyed the scene. The trash bags were brimming with empties, napping guests filled beach chairs, and the few standing dancers were red with sunburn. It was another successful year.