Orange Crush continues across Jacksonville; Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman welcomes festival-goers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Orange Crush continues across Jacksonville, bringing people from in and out of state.

Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman spoke with Action News Jax and said she’s been checking in on Orange Crush events, welcoming festival-goers.

Action News Jax told you Wednesday JSO has moved inmates out of the jail ahead of the festival, saying extra officers will be on duty.

Councilwoman Pittman expressed concerns about the move, saying there’s been racial undertones that needed to be addressed even if they’re uncomfortable to talk about. She worked with organizers and the sheriffs office to be on same page and make sure festival-goers didn’t feel they’d be harassed when they came here.

“I expressed my concerns to the sheriff, I made it known and it wasn’t a secret. I just wanted to make sure that we work together and the guests that come into Jacksonville and they didn’t feel like they weren’t welcomed here,” Pittman said. “So I think at the end of the day, it was accomplished”.

Jacksonville Beach has also officially welcomed Orange Crush.

“We come out here for one thing only, enjoy ourselves,” Meech Johnson from South Carolina said.

Whether it was Jacksonville, Georgia or even South Carolina, many drove hours to get here.

Some called it a party.

“If you ain’t at Orange Crush, then you ain’t living,” Marcel Trowel said.

Others are calling it overhyped.

“It seems like a normal day at the beach to me, I don’t see no Orange Crush,” Jacksonville neighbor Ronald Simmons said.

Organizers have said they’re expecting over 20,000 people to be in Jacksonville over the course of the weekend.

A birds-eye view from the Action News Jax Sky Vision Drone showed the Orange Crush turnout. Many started to pack the beach and the parking lots as the Saturday went on.

Additional Jacksonville Beach police and JSO were in the area, overseeing the beach and the bars.

Ben Frazier with the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville said nearly two-dozen members will be out to monitor what’s going on and to make sure festival-goers aren’t “overly policed.”

“Our concern is because the crowd is primarily college-aged and black, is that they will be treated differently from events and venues than events where participants are predominantly white,” Frazier said.

Festival-goer Tariq Ross came from Georgia and says they’re here for a good time, not a long time. He said positivity is what the festival is all about.

“It’s always great energy when you can see this many people wanting to come together to have a good time, no violence, everybody having fun,” Ross said. “A big beach party, we love it, man, it’s the energy we’re here for.”

Orange Crush will continue Sunday.