5 Reasons to Love/Hate 2010 Spring Break

It’s that wonderful time of year when students from all over the country head south for Panama City’s white sandy beaches, to have a great time with friends and to party, party, party. It is the perfect destination for the breakers. But for locals, Spring Break is the most polarizing event on PCB. Some love it, some hate it; so we decided to put together a list of what we love or hate about the wild and crazy event. So, here goes nothing.

Hate:

Traffic/Scooters

As you know, traffic during spring break is awful. That bad traffic isn’t exclusive to the streets and the zillions of colorful scooters zooming across lanes of traffic. Traffic is in every department store, every gas line, every restaurant and every bathroom on the beach. The depth of annoyance can only be described in the brilliant words of Brandon, a 2009 spring breaker from  Athens, “Man, this sucks” Yes, Brandon, it does indeed.

Filth

If you remember the Lil Wayne concert from last year, and I am sure many of you do, once the beach was emptied of all the screaming, sunburned partygoers, what remained on our gorgeous shores was equivalent to a landfill. There were bottles, cans, shoes, broken sunglasses, mardi gras beads and so much other trash on the beach and in the streets it was nearly intolerable. Just attempting to keep the beach clean is a full time job and I am glad it is not mine.

Destruction

So you’re the owner of a brand new condo and to help generate a bit of revenue you decide to rent out your 3 bedroom 3 bath unit for spring break thinking, “those kids aren’t going to break anything in a place so nice.” Your naiveté in that regard is only outdone by your dismay and anger over the broken toilets, holes in the walls, stains on virtually everything and the flip-flop-wearing 21-year-old-tornadoes that just blew through your lovely summer home.

Underage Drinking/Lingering Stigma

Without a doubt, Spring Break’s biggest problem is the underage drinking and the heavy stigma that remains on Panama City Beach throughout and long after. It is a difficult thing to police, and even with increased law enforcement and additional security on hotel and club premises it still goes on. Kids drink heavily and act inappropriately leaving our great city with a reputation for allowing such things to go on.

Injuries

This one is huge. From drunken falls, to fights, to the seemingly annual balcony leap-of-faith, injuries during spring break are unavoidable. And although this article is light in context, this is no laughing matter. People have suffered, and this is without question the most loathed part of spring break. It is unfortunate and certainly steps are taken by our local government to help as best they can. So if any of you spring breakers are reading this, be safe, read up on local laws and try, try, try to make your parents proud.

Love:

Generate Revenue

Spring Break generates more revenue in a few months than many vacation destinations generate all year long. And although it comes at a cost (see all 5 things to hate above) the money cannot be overlooked. Kids come here to spend money. They spend money on hotels, food, clubs, shopping and everything in between. You have to love that.

Nostalgia

Sure, you’ve driven down Hutchison Blvd., (cause you wouldn’t dare take Front Beach) and you see all the youthful students, carefree and green, and you remember what it was like to be on Panama City Beach during your spring break. You remember how much fun it was to ride the strip, to make friends all across the beach, to have those “spring flings” that you remember for the rest of your life. Every year, the spring break season stirs up the dust of your youth and, well, you have to love that too.

Discounts

If you are willing to brave a trip out to a department store or a restaurant, you’ll find all sorts of Spring Break and local discounts. Last year, places like Pineapple Willy’s, stores across Pier Park and other places slashed prices to encourage the breakers to head their way. If you are willing to endure the students, you too can get all those breaks.

Change of Weather/Invigoration

It isn’t a coincidence that on the month the youth head to Panama City Beach, the weather is also springing into action. No more cold, gray skies. No more empty streets. No more brown grass. During a great deal of the Spring Break season the sun is shining, the palm trees are perking up and our whole city is buzzing with life.

Nightlife

For those of you who like to go out and have a good time at night, there is simply no better time of the year to head out and have fun than spring break. Personally, I don’t go out but when I did (yes, there was a time) Spring Break was the time to do it. Most clubs and bars have early bird discounts, celebrity meet and greet, and discounts on drinks. Not to mention, every club, bar and, well, any place that sells liquor is packed with people.  You can party all day and dance the night away every night.

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101 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Love/Hate 2010 Spring Break

  1. I’d like to say,” THANK YOU PANAMA CITY FOR HOSTING SPRING BREAK!” My daughter and her friends enjoy the beach, the night life and lite partying, to relax from college life. I have taught her to be respectful to others personal property when renting or borrowing, if drinking, know your limits, have a DD and watchout and take care of each other, be responsible. Pickup after yourself, leave things better than what you found it , be a thinker (work with your hands, think with your head, feel with your heart), seek the truth, be a doer (productive person), enjoy life – it is a journey to learn to be the best you can. Overall, not all spring break college students are destructive, if we as parents would teach our children to be responsible starting at a young age.
    The art of being a responsible parent does take work, discipline, understanding and laughter.

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  2. This subject has been the source of many heated debates for as long as I can remember. I am a long time local who has worked in some form of the hospitality industry for most of my years in Panama City Beach. I have met good and bad people from all walks of life. Working the “graveyard shift” has allowed me to see and experience many aspects of spring break most people are totally unaware of. I have had some interesting conversations with sober spring breakers at 3am who were disappointed with the way their fellow students were behaving. Others invited me to their parties. I have also experienced parents to young children that were intoxicated an hour after checking in to their hotel/condo and expected the staff of said hotel/condo to look after their children. The problem being, the staff never agreed to the arrangement. And I have met some “snowbirds” that were less mature than my 9 year old! On the other hand, some “snowbirds” make me smile every time I see them. It is true that some people do not act in a mature fashion, but it is also true that immature people come in all ages and from all backgrounds. From my experiences, it is usually the “rich kids” that misbehave more than the “less fortunate kids”during spring break. And my theory on that is simple; you respect what you have to earn. If the “rich kids” know their credit cards have no limit, it doesn’t matter how much of a damage deposit you charge! And if we’re talking about turning Panama City Beach into a family destination, I agree that Panama City Beach needs more entertainment for all ages that doesn’t involve drinking. Furthermore, with our current economy, doing away with spring break isn’t really an option. Any revenue is good revenue. And I have a strong feeling this will be the case for at least a few more years. I only wish people were treated as they treat others on an individual basis. I have a good feeling that this world would be a much more pleasant place to live!

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  3. Brad I would like to know your business as well. I will try to support it. Carla is probably a snowbird playing bingo and watching Mattlock every night so I don’t think you’ll lose anything unless your business is a bingo hall.

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  4. I say to the old people, that make 1 million+ a year renting out your condos, to let the kids rent out the condos. Its a once a year event let the college kids do it in style.

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  5. Objectors Get a life. I am age 81 and am thrilled to see people having good clean fun. The drinking and wild stuff I object to and if they told the truth those acting wild actually object themselves ,but loving the sun, rushing a tan, seeing the laughter and people having fun swimming and loving the Beach that I love, I love it.!!!

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  6. Brad, Im confused, I thought you were a server who could not get decent tips? I also dont see your name listed on any property owner website, and I thought you were 24?

    Neither here nor there, just trying to make a point. Im sitting here, right now, its almost midnight. I have to work, I have two kids in school that have to get up, all of us at 6 a.m. I have tried since Saturday, when it all began, to get a decent nights sleep…I can hear the hard hitting bass from clear up on front beach and Im nearly all the way back to middle beach. They are continually screaming, blowing horns, stealing carts from walmart and running them through the neighborhoods they arent even supposed to be in at 3 am, cursing so heavily I cant let my young kids outside unless its a weekend morning, when they will still all be passed out.

    I too was once of that age…and never once did we swear when we knew adults, kids or anyone would overhear. The young “ladies” are the worst Ive ever seen, so drunk as to be puking in the lot behind my home with all her friends drunkenly hollering with concern.

    So yeah, I damn sight HATE it. I hate this time of year, more and more every year. And unless someone can make it NOT be a virtual slice of HELL for the people that live and pay taxes and send our kids to school here, then it should be FORCED out of our lovely area, just like Lauderdale did. Thier take on the spring break mentality? Raunchy. And thats what it is. Nasty, raunchy, rude idiots. Sorry. Im sleep deprived and my sense of “giving it a chance” is long since gone.

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  7. They complain about less than a half million dollars in extra government services (police and medical) yet Spring Break brings in $170 million tourism dollars.

    Sounds like the civic leaders:

    1. Are jealous they didn’t get to have as much fun during spring break in their day and …

    2. Flunked their math classes. I’ll pay less than $500,000 in city services to bring in ten times that in sales and hotel bed tax any day (assuming that taxes are 5-10% of the total incoming tourism dollars).

    The talk is of turning Panama City Beach into a family destination. HELLOOOOOOO!!! Destin and Gulf Shores already beat you to it a long time ago.

    Panama City Beach will eventually end up like Destin as condos replace hotels and people from around the US and the world with money discover the Emerald Coast.

    Until then, tell law enforcement that if they eased up, the costs of law enforcement and arrests might go down. Let the people party and spend the money.

    Seems to work for New Orleans and Las Vegas, and the majority of people in Bay County (county Panama City Beach is in) area live across the bridge in Panama City, not in the middle of the beach. Just like the majority of people in New Orleans and Las Vegas live well away from Bourbon St. or the Las Vegas Strip.

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  8. Susie, you may not be a local. I am. My family has owned these homes for more than 30 years. As have many of neighbors here. This is not Bourbon Street…the bars are far removed from where I live yet the idiots parade around neighborhoods they arent staying in for what reason? To show how they have been raised with absolutely no respect, much less morals.

    Done my share of partying in my day (boy…did I) right here on this beach, too; and I can remember stumbling my way home with friends, all the while everyone shushing each other if we got too loud. No one gives a damn anymore, and they can stick spring breakers where the sun doesnt shine, this city will certainly replace the revenue the scum bring here.

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  9. After reading many of these comments, it seems that there isn’t any input from hotel owners that saw. Most of the comments are from homeowners like myself, or condo owners that have choices to make regarding wheather to rent or not to rent. I take the same position as many of you, and I don’t rent during spring break. Changing the landscape of PCB is very easy if everyone including the hotels, motels, and mom & pop shops all chose not to rent to the spring breakers. Not only would they be forced to find a new area to party, but the local businesses would have to find a way to overcome the lack of profits that they make during this time. Sending MTV to a different city might be a good start, as they are more connected to this crowd than anyone else. I was in Destin on Monday and there were plenty of breakers on the beach and in the bars, and airplanes flying banners overhead, not much different than PCB.

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    1. I agree. Its a shame too..I’m not against anyone coming here to blow off steam…but it has gotten so out of control, and everyone just seems to have given up wrestling that control back to keep things sane that it will eventually ruin it for everyone. Including those who are not here to raise so much ruckus, but to enjoy some warm, beautiful beach time.

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