Jacksonville Beach, Florida – The Orange Crush Festival kicks off across Jacksonville on Friday. Thousands are expected for the weekend to hit town and beaches.
Action News Jax told you about stores that stay open while others are closed.
Jacksonville Councilor Ju’Coby Pittman released the following statement on the event:
“The law enforcement involvement along with JSO, Sheriff Mike Williams and the Beaches Officials is key to ensuring our visitors have fun and feel safe during the event’s celebrations. I look forward to welcoming the first 3-day Orange Crush Fest to our community. Businesses prepare for the weekend rush and economic impact as we showcase Jacksonville and the beaches as a place of excellence in northeast Florida. ”
On the official Orange Crush schedule, the festivities begin tonight at 6 p.m. at the Justice Pub in downtown Jacksonville. Saturday meetings are being relocated to the beaches.
Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman said law enforcement officers in Tybee Island had contacted local guides to learn what to expect from the festival.
Tybee Island officials said the biggest concern when the event took place there over the past few years wasn’t crime, but garbage. A local beach cleanup is scheduled for the Monday after Orange Crush to pick up whatever is left behind.
Action News Jax announced on Wednesday that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is releasing inmates from prison before the weekend. JSO said it wanted to make sure the prison population was adequate to explain the arrests during the event.
In an e-mail response, JSO said, “If there are high-volume events planned in the beach area, such as July 4th celebrations and air shows, we have provided manpower on both the safety and transport side.”
Sheriff Mike Williams said in a press release: “We appreciate a collaborative approach to welcome the 3-day festival to our community. Big events like this are nothing new to our people and we are ready. I am confident that the men and women of JSO will provide exceptional service to both our residents and visitors over this busy weekend. As always, JSO is here to help anyone in need. We wish everyone a safe and fun weekend …”
Orange Crush organizer George Mikey announced that the participating tours met and “agreed that the success of the event relies on effective communication and cooperation between all parties involved. We share a common goal: to ensure a safe, well-organized, and profitable event for the City of Jacksonville. Sheriff Williams and (I), both military veterans, agree that a law enforcement presence is the best solution given the expected involvement. “
JSO encourages attendees and citizens alike to be aware of the potential for traffic jams as they move on and around the routes between downtown Jacksonville and the beaches – including: Atlantic Boulevard, Beach Boulevard, and J. Turner Butler Boulevard. Those driving these main roads should be aware of the potential traffic jams that cause delays, JSO said.
Additional officers can be stationed at key points along these routes. These officers help with the manual operation of the traffic lights if necessary, help the motorists and clear the lanes in the event of accidents at peak times.
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