Beaches mayors discuss updated preps for ‘Orange Crush’

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — The Orange Crush Festival is coming to Jacksonville this weekend, from June 18 to June 20.

City officials, surrounding businesses, and neighbors are preparing for the popular party that typically draws tens of thousands of college students.

Originally, Orange Crush promoted itself as a Jacksonville Beach festival. However, the mayors of Jacksonville’s beaches said none of their cities have received any requests for an event permit.

RELATED: ‘Orange Crush’ expected to draw thousands to Jax Beach in June

Chris Hoffman, the mayor of Jacksonville Beach, said, “Instead of being a Jacksonville Beach event, this is a Duval County event, and even wider.”

The event’s website shows activities are planned downtown, on the Southside, and even in Huguenot Park.

Although none of the official Orange Crush events are in Jacksonville Beach, the mayor said they are still preparing for larger crowds.

In the past, the Orange Crush Festival has been held at Tybee Island in Georgia. It drew criticism for heavy drinking, and arrests related to guns and drugs.

A statement released by Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach’s mayors said, “Due to the history of the event at its previous location, police departments across the area will assist to ensure that residents and visitors alike enjoy a safe weekend at the beach.”

Officials said they are monitoring the event’s ticketing website to help better prepare for the crowd. They are also bringing in officers from the Jacksonville sheriff’s office to assist the beaches’ police departments.

Jax Beach resident Edmund Saldana isn’t worried about the event.

“I would expect that they would beef up security just a little bit more just because they don’t know what to expect.”

He said with anything new, it is important to keep an open mind.

“I think that, you know, we should have faith in humanity.”

Mayor Hoffman wants people to enjoy their time while in Jacksonville, safely and by the rules.

The beach itself is open to the public, as long as everyone can follow some simple rules. Like, no open alcohol containers, throwing away your trash; no littering and no messing with the dunes.

Mayor Hoffman said, “We are very keen on being present but also being pleasant, polite, understanding that people are here to visit and to have fun.”

RELATED: Questions, controversy ahead of Orange Crush Festival in Jacksonville Beach

Law enforcement from Tybee Island told Jacksonville leaders their biggest concern was the amount of littering they saw from past Orange Crush partygoers.

To help with the trash concerns, staff from downtown bars and restaurants have organized a beach cleanup for Monday after the event is over.

Bailey Husker

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.