Spring Break is Here – Total List of Schools on Break

Every year the weather warms, the skies clear and the college kids go on break, flocking to the beach.  And after a few months of studies, who can blame them?  You know I’ve had a tattered relationship with spring break, and consistent with many in the community, I cringe at the thought of what some of them do while they are here.  However, being in the Panama City Beach vacation rental business (shameless SEO plug), I know first hand that spring breakers are just about the only business to be had during the month of March.

Technically, Spring Break started the last week in February.  But this week is the first real week of the season with the majority of the traveler influx starting next week.

Total list of schools on spring break this week (2-9).

Ball State University (In)
Boston College (Ma)
Bowling Green State University (Oh)
Central Michigan University
College Of Charleston (Sc)
College Of William & Mary (Va)
Columbus State University (Ga)
Duke University (Nc) Mar 3-17
Eastern Michigan University
Emerson College (Ma)
Florida Atlantic University
Geaorgetown University (Dc)
Grand Valley State University (Ma)
James Madison University (Va)
Loyola University Of Chicago
Michigan State University
Northeastern University (Ma)
Northern Michigan University
Pennsylvania State University
Santa Fe Community College (Fl)
Southern Illonois University – Edwardsville
Universite Laval (Qb, Ca)
University Of Central Florida
University Of Florida
University Of Michigan
University Of Mobile (Al)
University Of North Carolina – Charlotte
University Of Pennsylvania
University Of South Dakota
Valencia Community College (Fl)
Valparaiso University(In)
Vanderbilt University (Tn)
Villanova University (Pa)
Virginia Western Community College
West Virginia University
Western Michigan University

Total list of schools on spring break NEXT week (9-16).

Auburn University(Al)
Belhaven University (Ms)
Bentley University (Ma)
Boston University (Ma)
Bridgewater State University (Ma)
Colgate University
Duke University (Nc) Mar 3-17
East Tennessee State University
Eastern Illonois University
Eastern Kentucky University
Emory Uiversity (Ga)
Ferris State University (Ma)
Florida State University
Geaorge Wahington University (Dc)
Harding University (Ar)
Howard University (Dc)
Illonois State University
Indiana State University
Iona College (Ny)
Liberty University (Va)
Miami University – Oxford (Oh)
Middle Tennesee State University
Misouri State University
Mississippi State University
North Carolina State University
North Dakota State University
Northern Illonois University
Ohio State University
Old Dominion University (Va)
Purdue University (In)
Sam Houston State University (Tx)
Southern Illonois University – Carbondale
St. Cloud State University (Mn)
St. Louis University (Mo)
Syracuse University (Ny)
Temple University (Pa)
Tennessee State University
Texas A&M University
Texas State University
Texas Tech University
Troy State University(Al)
University Of Bridgeport (Ct)
University Of Idaho
University Of Kentucky
University Of Louisville (Ky)
University Of Memphis
University Of Miami (Fl)
University Of Mississippi
University Of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University Of North Dakota
University Of Notre Dame (In)
University Of Pittsburg (Pa)
University Of Rochester (Ny)
University Of South Alabama
University Of South Carolina
University Of South Florida
University Of Southern Indiana
University Of Southern Mississippi
University Of Texas – Austin
University Of Utah
University Of Virginia
Utah State University
Virginia Tech University
Webster University (Mo)
Western Illonois University
Western Kentucky University
Winthrop University (Sc)

You Tell Us: Spring Break, To Be or Not To Be?

Let me preface this post by saying spring break isn’t just some event that can be shut off or closed down. It is a period of time in which students are on break from school, and they crave the leisure and activity of a tourist destination.  Regardless, college age kids on spring break will want to come to the beach.  We are a destination, and we’re attractive to those wanting to get away from their norm.

Now that I got that out of the way. . .

The activity on the beach the last few weeks has spurred a variety of appearances of our little beach town in national news outlets, all referencing spring break.  Local Mayoral candidates are using it to strengthen their position in the race, and locals all around seem to be furious about trashed beaches, too much traffic and a damaged perception of what they desire Panama City Beach to be.

Just two of the articles Panama City Beach has shown up on USA Today’s Travel section read, “Florida spring break mecca conflicted over its wild image“, and “The 10 trashiest spring break destinations“.  Of course, the later, when read, defines “trashiest” as a positive term, which for many, is equally as troubling.

Now, I’ve heard all the arguments from the businesses that seemingly do exceptionally well during this period, the businesses that heavily cater to this type of crowd.  And I’ve heard the arguments from others who claim Spring Break is 35% of the annual revenue here.  And while that may be the case for some, it’s certainly not the case for our rental properties.  If I did rent to the college kids (which I don’t, with the exception of a very few), it would still only account for about 1/6th of our total annual revenue and still wouldn’t be worth the headaches.

You’re the pundit – tell us your opinion on Spring Break

It seemed like a couple years ago we were trying to move away from the image we seem to be entrapped in again.

So I’d like to open this up to you.  You’ve been down here, you’ve read the articles, what do you think about the spring break activity we’ve had in Panama City Beach?

What do you think this activity will do to our image?

Do you think this will have a lasting impact on how our summer tourists look at our area?

Do you think we are making some summer tourist sacrifice to have a “good spring break?”

Bonus – Pictures from Spring Break Past

Panama City Beach Spring Break Week 1

It’s that time of year again.  The weather’s warming, the sand is beckoning and college students and families alike are getting spring-fever!  Our beaches are filling up this week and starting in two weeks we’ll have a full load of tourists bathing in our sun, spending their money in our businesses and reminding us all which industry really is king in Northwest Florida.

Panama City Beach Spring Break is upon us!

Before I even begin, I’d like to give a huge shout-out and special thanks to our friends over at Tripsmarter who have graciously given us permission to use some of the information they provide every year to their spring break audience.  All of the information I am publishing in this post can also be found over on their site, in their Panama City Beach Spring Break section.

This week’s events – March 5-9

Spinaker Beach Club

  • Chasing Scarlett: March 2-7, 2012
  • Mega Beach Party (Beach Stage, MCs, DJs, Contests, 600’ Zip Line, Sponsored Activities, Games, and Free Stuff! 12pm-5pm): March 3-23, 2012
  • Shawn Rader: March 3-7, 2012
  • Bad Habits: March 4-6, 2012
  • Natalie Stovall: March 8-11, 2012
  • Tobacco Road Band: March 8-11, 2012

Club La Vela

  • J. Dash: March 5, 2012
  • Starkillers: March 6, 2012
  • Mr. Mayhem: March 5-11, 2012

Chateau Motel

  • DJ Elements & Beer Pong: March 5, 2012
  • Randy Waltz or Dame Vane: March 6, 2012
  • DJ Elements & Beer Pong: March 7, 2012
  • DJ Unk, Wet T-Shirt, & Beer Pong: March 8, 2012
  • Beer Pong Tournament & Local DJs: March 9, 2012

For a full listing of all the Spring Break activities all around Panama City Beach, visit Tripsmarter’s Spring Break section.

Full list of schools out for Spring Break this week
March 5-9, 2012 (Mon-Fri)
College / University Enrollment
Albion College 1,970
Algonquin College 16,000
Alverno College 2,654
Aurora University 6,000
Austin Peay State University 9,192
Baldwin-Wallace College 4,260
Ball State University 20,113
Barry University 9,324
Belmont University 4,765
Beloit College 1,300
Bennett College 572
Bishop’s University 1,817
Boston College 13,723
Bowling Green State University 22,882
Bridgewater State College 10,418
Bryn Mawr College 1,799
Campbell University 10,471
Carroll College 3,292
Central Michigan University 28,389
Clark University 2,883
College of Charleston 11,320
College of William & Mary 7,709
Columbus State University 7,593
Community College of Philadelphia 17,334
Covenant College 1,007
Creighton University 6,992
Dalton State College 4,532
Duke University 12,991
East Carolina University 25,990
East Tennessee State University 13,389
Eastern Kentucky University 15,839
Emerson College 3,800
Emory & Henry College 981
Ferris State University 13,000
Florida A&M 12,792
Florida Atlantic University 26,245
Florida State University 40,838
George Washington University 24,531
Georgetown University 14,148
Grand Valley State University 30,332
Hampton University 27,134
Harding University 6,810
Hastings College of the Law 6,503
Hendrix College 1,095
Indiana State University 1,233
James Madison University 5,117
Kennesaw State University 20,603
Lebanon Valley College 1,906
Lehigh University 6,836
Loyola College, Maryland 6,131
Loyola University of Chicago 15,545
Mary Baldwin College 2,242
Miami University (OH) 20,126
Michigan State University 46,045
Minnesota State University 13,841
Morehouse College 2,933
Normandale Community College 10,223
North Carolina A&T 11,103
North Carolina State University 31,130
Northeastern University 20,605
Northern VA Community College 60,000
Notre Dame de Namur University 1,600
Oakland University 18,000
Old Dominion University 21,625
Pellissippi State Technical Community College 7,001
Pennsylvania State University 83,721
Radford University 9,552
Saint Joseph’s University 7,542
Simmons College 4,700
South Dakota State University 10,566
Southern Arkansas University 3,109
Southern IL University at Edwardsville 13,449
St Cloud State University 17,173
Stetson University 2,273
Temple University 34,218
Tennessee State University 8,748
Tennessee Tech University 10,871
Thomas More College 1,416
Universite De Sherbrooke 35,000
Universite Laval 28,902
University of Central Florida 48,497
University of Detroit Mercy 5,600
University of Evansville 2,350
University of Florida 49,693
University of Memphis 20,000
University of NC at Chapel Hill 28,136
University of NC at Charlotte 11,840
University of North Alabama 7,323
University of Pennsylvania 7,728
University of Pittsburgh 28,823
University of San Francisco 8,447
University of South Dakota 27,390
University of Southern Indiana 11,582
University of Tampa 16,050
University of Toledo 5,600
University of Virginia 19,706
University of Windsor 12,291
University of Wyoming 13,301
Valencia Community College 51,551
Valparaiso University 3,874
Vanderbilt University 11,847
Villanova University 9,335
Virginia Tech 29,898
Virginia Western Community College 9,000
West Chester University of PA 12,950
Western Kentucky University 19,215
Western Michigan University 24,433
Wilmington College 11,500
Wingate University 2,041
Xavier University 6,500
Yale College 11,398
TOTAL 1,627,713

Panama City Beach CVB Targets Spring-Breakers with New Online Planning Guides

It’s right around the corner – and this Spring Break, the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitor’s Bureau has taken a slightly different approach. Aimed at sending a serious message in a fun way, the CVB has created new online guides for the thousands of college students heading to Panama City Beach and its warmer temperatures, beautiful beaches, and action-packed nightlife. Continue reading “Panama City Beach CVB Targets Spring-Breakers with New Online Planning Guides”

5 things to Expect (& Not Expect) at the Spring Break Community Forum

As you may know, on August 19th the TDC and CVB will have a community forum to discuss Panama City Beach Spring Break and whether or not marketing funds should be allocated to bolster the annual raucous event. Now, no doubt some of you are rolling your eyes, others are chomping at the bit to bequeath their 2 cents, but after reading many of the comments left after my recent post, I thought it might be a good idea to preface the forum with some possible expectations. The Spring Break topic is the single most polarizing concern on the minds of residents and business owners and often conversations on the topic kindle contentious emotions. To date, all conversations have ended in dialectal stalemates. And it should be noted, the purpose of the forum isn’t to promote or to undermine any particular argument, but is an attempt to find a middle ground in all this. So, what should we expect?

Civility (Hopefully):

Spring break makes people act crazy…and that’s not just the kiddies coming down for college. Residents get crazy just talking about how breakers destroy everything in their wake. The emotions are so deep-seeded on that topic, that simple conversations can become very, very contentious. It is important that the topic be seen from both sides. Yes, business owners make lots of money and yes, residents are uncomfortable in their own homes. Both perspectives are valid. But losing your cool in a public forum won’t solve any problems. So keep it cool and civil.

Long-Winded Comments:

No time limits or rules of order will keep people from squeezing every last drop out of their point. But those of you who plan to unleash their carefully written dissertation on why spring break is demonic or why we need spring break economically, trust me, mostly it’s been heard before. The focus of the forum should not be on your spring break experience, good or bad, but on trying to inch our way towards the middle of the road.

Passionate Arguments:

I am a huge proponent of individuals being passionate about something. And, to some degree, public forums are supposed to encourage how people truly feel about a topic. These ideals, on which you passionately stand, will on some occasions become full-blown arguments. This is to be expected. It is important, however, that we try to be respectful. If someone breaks down into tears while speaking their view, see it for what it’s worth. I’ve personally witnessed this happen and several audience members rolled their eyes in disdain. This is a topic people do feel very passionate about and as inclusive members in the “community” forum, we should be respectful.

Don’t Expect Answers:

This forum is not meant to stamp out any and all inquiries with answers. In fact, it is the opposite of a Q and A. This forum is for local businessmen and women, residents and even some vacationers to voice their opinion to our governing body. It is a place to speak and to listen. Don’t expect to leave knowing one way or another how everything will turn out because in the end there will not be a spring break final solution. It is more likely you’ll leave with more questions than answers.

Don’t Expect The End of Spring Break:

No matter if every single person in the forum is against spring break, the truth of the matter is, spring break won’t end tomorrow. In fact, spring break won’t ever “end” because as long as Panama City Beach exists the breakers will come. No matter how you dress it up, no matter how you tone it down, we all must understand that putting money into spring break or putting money into a campaign to eradicate it won’t change it much either way. Consider spring break the vacation roach, if you will. It will keep coming back, be it with college kids, families or something different entirely, we just have to figure out a way to live with it the best way we can.

The community forum will be held Wednesday August 19th at City Hall.

Spring Break is here and the beaches are filling up

I can’t believe it is already March in 2008 already! Spring Break is here, and the beach is coming to life. I said this last year and I’ll say it again. I don’t like many of the things that come with spring break, but I do love it when our area comes alive.

My mother-in-law owns a rental business and I was told that this week isn’t quite as busy as next week, but most of their rentable units are occupied.

It is supposed to cool off a little as the week goes on, but all-in-all, we should have pretty good weather.

Click the “more” link for a list of schools in town this week.

Continue reading “Spring Break is here and the beaches are filling up”

Notes from the TDC/CVB Board Meeting January 9th, 2008

7 of the 9 board members were present. Yonnie Patronis and Mike Nelson were absent.

Bed Tax Collection Update: Charlene Honnen, the Bay County Tourist Development Tax Specialist, updated the board. The November collections were up 3% from 2006; however, Chairman Phillips cautioned that all indications are that PCB tourism was relatively soft for 2007. Phillips mentioned that occupancy number might actually be down for the year since rates were higher due to higher rates being charged for the new upgraded accommodations.

Frank Brown Park Road: Mayor Oberst requested that the TDC consider committing approximately $34,000 to pay one-third of the cost to continue paving the road from the special event site to the new North Pier Park Dr. The bid is based on county staff completing the work. Oberst reported that the BCC agreed yesterday to pay one-third and the PCB Council was scheduled to consider the same tomorrow. Gary Walsingham inquired as to whether this type of expenditure was permissible using bed tax funds. Legal Counsel Sale responded that it was OK as long as the board made a finding that the expenditure would promote tourism in PCB. Since the TDC budget for 2007-08 does not have sufficient contingency funds, a motion was made that the board recommend to the BCC that the expenditure be approved contingent on sufficient additional funds being available after the audit currently taking place is completed. The motion passed 7-0.

Turtle Lighting Ordinance: Sale reported that staff has requested the Army Corps of Engineers move forward with the 2008 renourishment project based on the boards approval of a lighting ordinance at their last meeting. The USACE is currently awaiting comment from U.S. Fish & Wildlife. Sale cautioned the board that USF&W might revoke two major concessions (approval of non-turtle friendly safety lighting and a unusually long 5 year compliance period) since the board decided to include the grandfather provision previously rejected by USF&W.

Christmas Holiday Marketing: Chairman Phillips recommended that the CVB Marketing Committee consider opportunities for holiday-oriented activities that could increase December tourism. Possibilities discussed by the board included decorations on Front Beach Rd. similar to Lake Defuniak, sleigh rides, shopping programs, and New Year Eve fireworks.

Strategic Planning Program: Dan Rowe announced final details for the Strategic Planning Program later this month. Peter Yesawich will be speaking at Gulf Coast Community College on the 21st from 3:30 to 5:30 concerning trends in the tourism industry. This will be followed by the first workshop on the 22nd from 9:00 to 3:00 at the Edgewater Resort. The CVB has hired Bob Allen as an outside facilitator. Both sessions are open to the public.

Visitor Inquiries: Internet inquiries have been relatively flat recently and Rowe is working with Miles Media to retool the CVB’s internet marketing plans. Rowe is also considering reallocating staff due to a reduction in telephone inquiries.

Sporting Events Funding Policy: Rowe reported that Sports Marketing Director Richard Sanders was currently developing a Sporting Event Policy similar to the Special Events Policy. Compliance with the new policy will be required for any Sporting Event requesting CVB funding assistance.

College Spring Break Update: Rowe announced that the CVB’s co-op web site was running late but would be up by Monday. MTV is also running behind schedule in putting 2008 information on their site. Staff has been in contact with Campus Crusade For Life, which expects 2000-3000 volunteers to be here during college break doing community service. Their projects last year included trash cleanup and planting sea oats.

2007-08 Co-Op Advertising Update: Rowe reported that the December co-op ad fair was very successful. Agency is currently considering revisions for a few placements that the industry partners did not have an interest in.

For all posts on the TDC Meetings, click here.