While Jacksonville Beach has a string of festivals and events throughout the summer, there is only one in Neptune and Atlantic Beach. Dancin’ in the Streets has been going on all day, with bands on two stages at opposite ends of Town Center.
The streets were packed, the beer and margaritas were flowing, the bands were loud … you’re typical street festival. It’s kind of like a smaller version of the Shrimp Festival up in Amelia Island, without the pirates. There were many of the same art and craft vendors, some of the same food, though some of it was more local to our part of the beach. Every policeman from Neptune and Atlantic Beach I think was at the event, and at every entrance, and on many t-shirts, was the legend “Be Nice or Stay Home”.
That’s been a bit of a problem at the beach of late. There was an article in the Shorelines this morning pointing out some of the problems that have already cropped up at the beach early in the season. Lot’s of fights, and an uptick in crime. There were some problems down in Jax Beach last weekend, with a couple of Saturday Night Fights breaking out during after-prom revelry. Fortunately, that hasn’t moved north to our little beach town just yet, and if we’re lucky, maybe it won’t.
But if you’re not drinking, or have a ton of friends hanging out at Dancin in the Streets, there’s not a lot of reason to just hang with 20 or 30 thousand of your closest buds. I kind of gave up on that big group debauchery a long time ago. The closest I’ve come recently was a couple of beers at the Fletcher All-Class reunion last weekend. And I’ve never been very good with elbow-to-elbow crowds. I know a lot of people thrive on it, and that’s cool, but it’s just not me.
Still, it was good to go. I rode my bike up, and there were bikes chained to trees and street signs for 5 or 6 blocks before getting to the party. I’m sure Town Center will look a little hung over tomorrow, and the local constables will likely be rousting the last of the drunks off the streets and back to their homes. OK, I made that last part up, but it really wouldn’t surprise me. I’m glad most of these bat-brain crazy things happen down in Jacksonville Beach, and we only really give up one Saturday a summer to the madness.
Summer’s here. Life’s a Beach …