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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.