The threat of another Floatopia brings beach closures. How long will this last?
Last weekend, for the second year in a row, there were police officers stationed along Isla Vista beaches from Campus Point to Devereux to stop a potential Floatopia celebration. What with the trash, destruction, and general ickiness left after the first celebration in 2009, county officials and UCSB have been working together to prevent a repeat of the debacle. This year, however, deterring the celebration has become a little trickier.
This year’s Floatopia celebration was advertised on Facebook for the weekend of April 2. So last weekend, police officers put metal barricades across the stairways leading to I.V. beaches, and hung around to make sure no one headed down. If you made your way down one of the dirt trails dotting the cliffs you could still get to the beach to surf, but not many students made the trek. First of all the weather wasn’t great. Secondly, the officers on duty would probably have challenged people with inflatable boats, coolers of beer, and various other party paraphernalia in tow.
While the presence of officers definitely stopped students from congregating last weekend, there is still the potential for another try. There are signs set up in I.V. alerting students and others to the fact that the beaches will be closed this weekend, too. But while another round of beach closures might work for now, how long can the situation continue? As someone commented on a Facebook page, “They can’t close the beach forever.” True, and it makes you wonder just how many times the police can or should close the beaches to thwart a Floatopia-type event.
There are many issues that Floatopia raises, including the fact that some students put fun way ahead of responsibility. While not surprising, it is disturbing that there are students who want to summon forth a repeat of a celebration that was an environmental nightmare. Why not plan a celebration with a group of friends at the beach? Maybe even bring a floatation device. The beauty of the situation is that no one will stop you from partying with your friends at the beach. Problems only arise when you decide to party with your favorite thousand friends.
I.V. residents received a postcard this week from the UCSB Associated Students Local Affairs Office urging them to avoid participating in another Floatopia. The message was to “Stay Safe, Happy & Informed.” It was also a call to keep the beach clean. On the back of the card was a list of reasons why students might want to think twice before attending a huge party at the beach. First, there was mention of the $20,000 it costs to pay police officers to patrol springtime events. Next, there was a reminder of the Social Host Liability Ordinance in which people hosting a party at which underage drinkers are present could be fined $500 for a first offense. And last but not least, students were reminded of the marine species affected by the floating debris in our oceans. The message was clear, but we’ll see how many heed it.
While last weekend’s Floatopia celebration was foiled, this doesn’t mean that there wasn’t, as always, fun to be had in I.V. Last Friday you would have seen a group of more than 30 bicyclists hurtling through the streets of I.V., and people standing near the curb taking photographs. This was the Kroozer-Kross Race, a sight to see especially as racers jumped off their bikes to run to the keg set up in front of a local residence before remounting for another lap.
Arwin Hojjati, a UCSB senior and a Kroozer-Kross Race host, said it’s a quarterly event sponsored by Kroozer Kid Nation. Participants are expected to skid around every turn and drink a beer after each lap. There were three laps in this particular race. Hojjati said this Friday’s Kroozer-Kross was “one of the more successful ones.” He noted that people “really get excited about it.” One of the participants even drove down from Berkeley for the event.
This event’s winners included Hannah Wright and Ben Mahone. While there was no prize, Hojjati said they get “bragging rights.” While the race was the main event, participants also had a party to look forward to after they were done.
Students could also be seen having a good time last weekend playing beer pong in front of their houses, and Frisbee golf. It was clear that the banishing of Floatopia did not prevent them from having fun with friends.
This weekend will be another test of whether or not we will finally see an end to the promise, or threat, of Floatopia.