If Candice Glover comes home this weekend for a concert and parade, city officials say the size of the crowd will be like few Beaufort has seen.
City officials said Tuesday that 10,000 to 20,000 people could show up Saturday for her concert, which will be held if the St. Helena Island native makes the Top 3 on "American Idol."
The Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park can only hold 4,700 people, and Beaufort High School's stadium only 7,000.
So the question facing Beaufort City Council on Tuesday was, where should the concert be?
Council members decided the best solution was to set up a stage at the corner of Charles and Bay streets for the 6 or 7 p.m. concert. The immediate area would be closed all day, with room for cars to still travel down Bay Street, with additional street closures near concert time. Council approved the street closures.
The stage could jut out onto Bay Street, allowing visibility for audience members on three sides. Council also approved street closures for a 4 or 5 p.m. parade that would travel from Bladen to Bay to Newcastle to Church to North streets.
"There are a whole lot of things about this that are beyond your control, so the best you can do is manage it as much as possible," city manager Scott Dadson told council.
The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce has been working with representatives from "American Idol" to arrange the concert, which has not been officially announced because Glover has not made the Top 3 yet. The show will name the Top 3 on Thursday night.
But even if she doesn't make the Top 3, a welcome home concert or event will be held Saturday or at a later date, city officials said.
The city's Saturday concert plan needs to be approved by "American Idol," and chamber officials said they were attempting to get that approval Tuesday night.
The Saturday concert would coincide with Taste of Beaufort, which begins Friday and ends at 5 p.m. Saturday in Waterfront Park.
Chamber executive director Blakely Williams said "American Idol" wanted to close Bay Street all day between Charles and Carteret streets. But Councilmen Mike Sutton and George O'Kelley Jr. said that would hurt businesses.
"You can't shut down Bay Street all day, simply to keep people from parking there," Sutton said. "It just doesn't make sense."
Chamber spokeswoman Jaime Dailey-Vergara said the biggest concern for "American Idol" representatives was the direction of the sun for filming purposes, so the Waterfront Park Pavilion and several other options were rejected.
Police Chief Matt Clancy said the projected attendance is "far, far above what we typically deal with," and he expects the full police department will work over time, in addition to Beaufort County Sheriff's Office deputies and possibly town of Port Royal police officers assisting.
"Everyone is going to have to keep a good sense of humor and be expecting complaints, because there is no way everyone is going to be pleased," he said.
"It's going to be chaos no matter what," Sutton said.
The chamber is working on a plan to shuttle audience members to downtown from various locations around the city and from St. Helena Island, because parking will fill up quickly.
The cost to put on the concert and parade was also discussed. Williams said the equipment and concert alone will cost an estimated $50,000, plus police and public-works manpower. "American Idol" is not sharing the cost, she said.
"We're basically buying a commercial, so we want the best commercial we can get," Main Street Beaufort, USA, executive director LaNelle Fabian said.
City Council approved a motion Tuesday to supply manpower as needed, which will require budget revisions.
"All of a sudden they have three days to raise $50,000, so if we can do our part to help, we should," Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
An account to raise money for the concert has been set up at First Citizens Bank, and the chamber is also setting up a PayPal account to accept donations.