Law enforcement making sure Florida-Georgia game parties run smoothly

FL-GA celebrations stretch beyond Jacksonville

ST. SIMONS ISLANDS, Ga. — While the game is being played in Jacksonville, many fans take the party just north of Jacksonville, to St. Simons Island.

One hundred portables and dozens of trash bins were placed around the beach Thursday afternoon.

It's a decadeslong tradition, football fans cut loose on Florida-Georgia weekend.

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Allie and Caitlyn are students at the University of Georgia.

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"It's a good UGA tradition for sure," said Allie.

"We came to Frat Beach before. We like it a lot. It's a fun fall break," Caitlyn added.

Glynn County Police Cpt. Eugene Smith says Frat Beach is where thousands of people get together before the big Florida-Georgia rivalry.

"We have officers patrolling the park and the beach," said Smith.

Smith told Action News Jax that they have zero tolerance for underage drinking, and you can expect to see roadside sobriety checks this weekend and more officers armed with breathalyzers.

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"Arrest is our last resort. Last year, medical staff treated about 139 college students for extreme alcohol consumption," said Smith.

Steven Gregory has mixed feelings about the game.  He lives about a half-mile from East Beach.

"They party, like to drink, like to tear stuff up," said Gregory.

He remembers partying here too, so he's used to the thousands of people who descend on this island of about 13,000.

"I just like to watch. I'm a recovering alcoholic going on 21 years. I just like to watch what I used to do," Gregory said.

Smith says seven people were arrested for drinking. As for what he expects this year?

"Same procedure every year, patrol the beach and just try to keep the crowd under control that's it," Smith explained.

Many neighbors say they're leaving town for the weekend until the crowds leave.

In the meantime, the party is just beginning for people who are already in town for the big game.