Spring Break 2011 “The Mega Week”

According to Tripsmarter.com, over 2 million kids were turned loose for Spring Break during this past week, making these past 5 days the official juiced-up, mega-week of Spring Break.

In fact, it’s so big, it needs it’s own intro-music. *ques theme to Rocky*

(wakka wakka)

This last week brought hordes of college kids to town, who promptly set about shimmying and raising toasts with cold beers or those fruity, umbrella drinks.

Immediately following up all that shimmying, toasting and the mandatory high-fiving, they torpedoed onto the beach. Which is where they remained, fully focused on turning various shades of cocoa brown and repeating aforementioned actions.

I’ve been holding off on posting this article due to some irrational fear that as soon as we stated “all is well” here, it would cause some cosmic shift and break the spell of decent behavior. Maybe I’m just paranoid, or more likely I’ve seen one to many cheesy horror flicks. You know the kind, somewhere some young cheerleader states “it’s OK guys, there’s nothing bad going to happen” and whoosh, crazed leprechauns shoot out of the woods.

In an effort to get over my superstitions (and to keep the bosses happy) we’ll finally just go for it but if it starts raining frogs afterward, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The reality is that during these last few weeks of Spring Breakers swarming in to town, the news has remained relatively positive. The revenue influx is encouraging and the positive turn-out for the first big run of the tourist season, is offering a ray of hope for business owners affected from last year’s oil-spill sucker punch.

Granted, there’s been a few nitwits who’ve managed to make the nightly news but thankfully, it was more from stupidity then anything else. In all, considering the increase in traffic and our beaches being held hostage by a ton of college kids, it’s been relatively smooth sailing. The Panama City Beach Police Department has reported an increase in citations, mostly issued for under-age drinking or public intoxication. Which should come as no surprise to anyone when you realize some of these folks were already planning on breaking the law before they left campus.

As this mega-week dies down, and we start to gear up for another round of visitors,  let’s take a moment to check out the live cams perched above Schooners.

Ahhh, look at that sand! The emerald water! Jealous yet?


Numbers Break Down from tripsmarter.com

 

 

March 14-18, 2011 (Mon-Fri) 

College / University Enrollment
Adams State College 2,308
Alabama A&M University 6,047
Albright College 1,650
Alcorn State University 3,668
Arizona State University 64,394
Army, West Point 4,000
Auburn University 24,137
Austin College 1,291
Bentley College 5,557
Birmingham-Southern College 1,500
Bucknell University 3,555
Butler University 8,367
California State University, Chico 14,500
Carthage College 2,930
Claflin University 1,800
Claremont Mckenna College 1,135
Cleveland State University 15,706
Colgate University 2,750
College of Wooster 1,827
Colorado State University 26,884
Concordia University, Austin 1,400
Concordia University, Wisconsin 5,600
Connecticut College 1,910
Delta State University 4,392
Des Moines Area Community College 27,000
Drake University 5,221
Earlham College 1,194
Eastern Illinois University 11,651
Edgewood College 2,500
Fairleigh Dickinson University 8,000
Florida College 600
Florida International University 38,614
Fordham University 16,009
George Mason University 30,332
George Washington University 24,531
Georgia Southern University 16,841
Harvard University 19,139
Harvey Mudd College 746
Humboldt State University 7,773
Indiana University, Purdue 29,854
Indiana University of Bloomington 38,990
Iowa State University 26,160
Jackson State University 8,351
Jacksonville State University 9,000
John Hopkins University 15,000
Keene State College 6,400
Lafayette College 2,403
Lakeland College 3,999
Lewis and Clark Community College 2,403
Liberty University 3,999
Lewis and Clark Community College 20,252
Liberty University 14,438
Lipscomb University 2,744
Longwood University 4,479
Madison Area Technical School 20,461
Manhattan College 3,000
Marquette University 11,548
Meharry Medical College 723
Montana State University 12,250
Mount Holyoke College 2,100
Naval Academy 4,400
New York University 40,870
Northern Illinois University 25,313
Northwest College 1,800
Ocean County College 9,351
Pitzer College 950
Pomona College 1,548
Princeton University 6,898
Purdue University 39,228
Quinnipiac University 7,400
Rider University 5,790
Rutgers University at New Jersey 34,392
Rutgers University at New Jersey, Camden 51,480
Rutgers University at New Jersey, Newark 10,246
Sam Houston State University 16,416
Samford University 4,400
Savannah State University 3,169
Scripps College 899
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 20,983
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 13,449
Southern Methodist University 10,901
St. Louis University 11,823
Stephen F. Austin State University 10,822
Syracuse University 19,082
Texas A&M 46,540
Texas A&M, Corpus Christi 8,355
Texas State University 28,132
Texas Tech University 28,260
University of Alabama, Birmingham 16,246
University of Alabama, Huntsville 7,100
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 25,580
University of Central Oklahoma 15,753
University of Georgia 33,831
University of Hartford 6,225
University of Houston 35,344
University of Idaho 11,251
University of Iowa 30,409
University of Kentucky 27,209
University of Lethbridge 8,001
University of Massachusetts 60,000
University of Miami 15,449
University of Minnesota 50,402
University of Mississippi 17,323
University of Montevallo 3,000
University of Nevada 31,000
University of New Hampshire 13,547
University of New Haven 4,480
University of New Mexico 24,092
University of North Florida 15,619
University of North Texas 34,268
University of Northern Colorado 12,981
University of Northern Iowa 14,207
University of Notre Dame 11,603
University of Oklahoma 29,721
University of San Francisco 8,447
University of South Alabama 14,003
University of South Florida 34,036
University of Southern California 33,389
University of Tennessee 26,400
University of Texas, Austin 49,696
University of Texas, Dallas 14,480
University of Texas, Pan American 17,048
University of Texas, San Antonio 28,534
University of Texas, Tyler 6,150
University of Tulsa 4,165
University of West Florida 10,358
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse 10,052
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 28,356
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh 12,409
University of Wisconsin, Parkside 4,999
University of Wisconsin, Platteville 6,431
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point 8,552
University of Wisconsin, Stout 8,416
University of Wyoming 13,301
Valdosta State University 23,750
Virginia Commonwealth University 11,280
Washington State University 31,907
Weber State University 18,300
Western Illinois University 13,600
Wilson College 868
TOTAL 2,112,478

Spring Breakers Hit PCB sans Seventeen Magazine

According to our friends over at tripsmarter.com, there are roughly two million kids turned loose from colleges nationwide, all in the name of Spring Break and shaking off the past Winter Quarter.

I’m willing to bet that about 500,000 of those kids on break right now can be found in the beer aisle at Wal-Mart on Front Beach Rd.

Article

Ok, well maybe I’ve inflated that number a bit (the Wal-Mart estimate, not the Tripsmarter.com one) but all it takes is one adventurous jaunt to Wal-Mart at 7:30am on a Saturday to understand where that estimate stemmed from.

Sure, we can look at hotel bookings, or in-bound flights, but personally, the real test of numbers comes from those of us who live here on a day-to-day basis. We’re the ones who have to add an additional 15 minutes to our morning commute due to the surge in traffic and more recently, the surge in accidents from crazed college drivers.

It’s a strange love-hate vibe our community harbors for Spring Breakers. In fact, it’s almost along the lines of a kid-brother, or sister. Sure, the younger sibling may drive you batty, but we’re the only ones who’ve earned the right to talk smack about them. After all, we loan them our town, our beaches, and our homes for a couple of months every year and we do love them, despite how much they annoy us.

Yet, when a national magazine like Seventeen Magazine decides to run a piece on the evils of our town and our young Collegiates, it’s only natural that we would take a few moments to address some of the things the magazine stated.

It’s shocking that a relatively credible magazine like Seventeen, would opt to run such a slanderous piece on Panama City. Especially considering the run of hard luck the Gulf had last year and the extensive campaigns we’ve launched to rectify the negative PR during the Oil Spill.

The article used some pretty bold words to describe our town, referring to Spring Break in Panama City Beach as “disgusting, degrading and dangerous, especially to Women.” Ironically, this is the same Magazine who runs articles offering  “Flirting Tips” or  “How to Attract Men” and a “Fertility Calender” to their demographic predominantly comprised of teenage girls and tweens.

Seventeen Magazine went on to state that Spring Break in Panama City Beach was a “grim reality” filled with trash, drunks and casual sex.  Descriptive words capable of summing up any Frat Party. Hell,  if you want to get really down to it, out-of-control antics like those, are present in every town across the nation.

A large concert in Atlanta suddenly erupts in gunfire, some party in New York lands the kids in the hospital for excessive drinking, and then of course, for some college-age kids, that might just be any random Friday night out in San Francisco.

My point is, that it’s the people that bring the excess, not the location. A more constructive article would have been one that offered tips on enjoying the school break while remaining safe and aware. As opposed to running a piece dismissing Spring Break in PCB.

There’s a level of responsibility that needs to be accepted by those visiting our town. If you want to enjoy Spring Break, don’t make dumb choices.  Don’t drink too much, drink some water, eat some food, use sunblock and don’t make out with weirdos or strangers.

Our Police Department works hard to maintain the safety of everyone who visits or lives in Panama City Beach but it’s up to those visiting to meet us in the middle.

Weekend Weather- Spring is Here!

Looking for weekend weather updates? Bookmark our Weather category!

Well, Spring is officially here and by all means,  ask me how I know this. Go on, ask.

My reasoning behind that bold claim, is that  you can always tell when spring has arrived through this single, tell-tale sign.

There’s a gradual influx of college kids making out on the beach and an entire village of lizards mating on my porch.

If that doesn’t scream Spring Season, then I don’t know what does.

Weekend Weather for March 3-6

Continue reading “Weekend Weather- Spring is Here!”

Weekend Events- Bay County in Full Swing

Looking for Panama City Beach events? Bookmark our Events section!

Wow. A little sunshine and the whole town sets their activity volume to Eleven.

Due to the sheer volume of events, we listed a variety of options starting from Friday, March 4 through Tuesday, March 8.

Things To Do

Continue reading “Weekend Events- Bay County in Full Swing”

Panama City Beach Mardi Gras in Pier Park!

This is an old article, please go here to see new information

Panama City Beach Mardi Gras in Pier Park on Friday & Saturday, March 4-5.

“Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!” (Let the good times roll)

This family-friendly festival is a terrific alternative for travelers hoping to experience the culture and celebration of Mardi Gras, while enjoying a seaside vacation at one of the hottest beach destinations around.

Schedule Below

Continue reading “Panama City Beach Mardi Gras in Pier Park!”

Dive Locker- Nationally Acclaimed Local Business

The Ocean is my vision of the world’s first bonafide Minx.

She’s the original siren, proven capable of luring good men and women into uncertain voyages with her immense appeal, infinite depths, unpredictable temper and unmatched power.

The Sea’s effeminate qualities are limitless, and despite the extensive explorations we’ve bombarded her with, the Ocean still remains a coquettish mystery to us.

In short, the brazen lady scares the beejeebus out of me.

Sure, I’m game for swimming around the beach and even paddling out for a good surf session (for “good surf session” read lounging on the board, dangling my toes in the water) but so far,  that’s the extent of my courageous ocean adventures.  Skimming through waves, and executing fancy face-plants in the sandy shores.

Thankfully, there are others who have significantly more courage and have managed to turn the mighty ocean into a watery play-ground by delving deep into the worlds that exist far beneath the deceptively calm surface.

Oceanic Rock Stars, if you will, touring for miles underwater, in order to explore, discover and learn firsthand what potentially historical treasures lay at rest on the Ocean’s floor. In fact, our little town is home to some nationally acclaimed oceanic rock stars. Granted, they don’t define themselves by that term (that’s all mine baby) and prefer to go by the slightly more humble moniker of Professionally Certified Divers.

I’m referring to the one and only Dive Locker on Thomas Drive. Recently honored by being listed in Scuba Diving Magazine, as one of the best Dive Operations in the 2011 Readers Choice Top 100.

It’s easy to see why they’ve obtained such a prestigious nomination. The passion they exude for diving is evident in even casual encounters with everyone involved with Dive Locker’s operations.

Throughout the process of trying to coordinate our schedules, we were able to eventually connect and get a little Q & A action together. Thankfully, they were kind enough to answer my questions, and help shed a little insight on the people behind the shops success.  Most of the responses are from Tony Snow, Dive Locker’s Owner Extraordinaire, with additional comments provided by Brandon (who, according to the Dive Locker’s website, is aspiring to become the first underwater ninja. I commend you good sir. Ninjas rock) and Todd, Dive Locker’s Head Instructor, who has consistently been honored in PADI’S Top Ten as a top rated dive instructer.

Interview:

  • PCB:
    How long has Dive Locker been in business, has it always been in its current location?
  • DL: It’s been around for 8 years and yes, it originated in this location and has been here ever since.
  • PCB:
    Did business suffer last year with the oil spill?
  • DL: Despite the oil spill we still had a productive year, especially compared to others. There was great potential for the best season ever before the spill occurred. Unfortunately the negative media coverage scared away a lot of potential and existing customers so it is really difficult to say how much we were affected.
  • PCB:
    As Divers, did you guys see any evidence of oil, while you were in the water?
  • DL: Yes, but small amounts. There were several times when diving from shore that our staff encountered tar balls or sheen. However, they disappeared quickly and we have yet to see them since. We were very fortunate compared to surrounding areas.
  • PCB:
    Panama City Beach has been dubbed the “Wreck Capital of The South,” is there any idea how many sunken ships are in the area? Are divers still finding more?
  • DL: Countless amounts. The wonderful thing about the gulf is there is so much unchartered areas. People find new treasures all of the time. I think that is a contributing factor of why people dive. We are fascinated with the unknown. The ocean is a great place to explore and possibly find a piece of history.
  • DL (Todd)
    We have tons of Wrecks within just a few miles of our Pass. The Closer Wrecks are Red Sea, a newly placed tug, is our most recent wreck. The local dive community all worked to raise the money and get that one placed here. Black Bart, an oil field supply vessel is easily our most dove ship wreck. The USS Strength, an old navy mine-sweeper is one of the more interesting wrecks due to its condition. It has been blown in half, so it has a neat dive profile. A prototype Hovercraft also sits on the bottom in shallow. A Little Further Out, there’s the Accokeek, A tug that served during WWII now sits in about 110 feet of water. The Grey Ghost, an Old Navy Tug sunk in July 1978 as one of our first artificial reefs. Mac’s Reef, a retired navy barge sunk in 2007. Simpson, our shallowest wreck, is about 20 feet, but ten miles down shell island sunk in 1929
  • DL (Brandon)
    We are the “wreck capitol of the south”. We easily have over 30 wrecks in the area, along with sunken bridge spans. Most of the wrecks in the area are part of the artificial reef program, but they are still amazing dive sites. We do have a few “natural” wrecks. The Empire Mica, which stands out the most to me was sunk by a German U-Boat during WW2. Another natural wreck is the Tarpon. An old cargo ship that was overloaded (cocky Captain) and sank 12 miles offshore in the middle of a storm. Crew members of these two wrecks and a few other wrecks lost their lives during the sinking. The Mica and Tarpon are said to be haunted.

When I asked them about the coming season, and their feelings on its potential, Brandon summed it up with this statement: “We have high hopes for the coming season. I personally think this will be an awesome season for diving and for us. I think we will definitely bounce back from the oil spill last year. THERE IS NO OIL HERE! You can quote that.”

And so I did.

Dive Locker is the place to go when you’re ready to discover something new and exhilarating – especially if you feel as if you’ve done everything Panama City Beach has to offer. If you fit that description, then this is your key to unlocking a completely unique adventure.

Dive Locker (888) 612-7968 | 106 Thomas Drive | Panama City Beach, FL 32408