JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Frustration is building among city leaders and business owners in Jacksonville Beach with the three-day Orange Crush Festival taking place this weekend. The mayor is blasting event organizers, while a local faith leader believes the area is being trashed.
"They were lovely people, but the lawlessness and also just coming into the city without a permit, we shouldn't allow that," David Lyons said.
David Lyons is an assistant leader at Adventures in God's Creation in Jacksonville Beach.
"It was just people being rowdy and throwing garbage everywhere," Lyons said.
Lyons said he also saw this Saturday evening.
"If I was walking around with a beer, I know a JAX Beach police officer would walk up and ask me one, what do I think I'm doing and two, either give me a ticket or take me to jail for breaking the law and smoking marijuana in public," Lyons said.
"We'll put together a summary following the event of the whole event and if there were any arrests. I know there was one routine traffic stop that resulted in finding some illegal items," Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman said.
Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman reports only minor disturbances during the Orange Crush Festival.
She said most of the attendees have been respectful, and her issue is with the lack of communication from the event organizers. First Coast News had an interview set up with the event organizer Saturday, and he never showed up.
"I'm not impressed," Hoffman said. "It's cost us a lot of resources, and now we have to prepare for anything and everything versus having knowledge of what's going to happen and having a real schedule."
Mayor Hoffman said the event organizers never directly contacted her.
"This particular organizer or promoter, they did not seem to have the best interest of their attendees at heart, and they definitely don't have the best interest in their host communities," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said because the event organizers didn't pay for any permits, ultimately taxpayers have to foot the bill for the festival.
"You come in. You trash our cities," Lyons said. "Our taxpayer dollars have to go and pay the people to clean up our city. Our taxpayer dollars have to pay not only for JAX Beach but JSO and other counties that have come in to support and back up our police."
"My problem is not with the attendees," Hoffman said. "My problem is with the organizers of the event, and if I ever have the chance to ask those individuals to not plan an event here, I will."
The Orange Crush Festival was previously held in Tybee Island, Ga.