Spring Breakers could be coming to the coast earlier than anticipated

Spring Breakers could be coming to the coast earlier than anticipated

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Could Spring Breakers be coming to the Mississippi Gulf Coast earlier than expected this year? Perhaps.

The promoters behind Biloxi Black Beach Weekend and Gulf Coast Spring Break have been promoting April 7-9, 2017 as the date for the annual party. But a new promoter, Hot Spot Entertainment, is inviting college Spring Breakers to visit Gulfport starting as early as this weekend, March 4.

Event coordinator Jeremy J. Ford is promoting "Day Parties" at Club 34 from March 4 through April 1. The website SpringBreakGulfport.com is also promising a designated area by Jones Park for visitors to gather for free.

As of right now, Hot Spot Entertainment does not have any sand beach permits. Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis told WLOX News Now the organizers of this spring break party filled out permit applications. However, some discrepancies surfaced – such as parking concerns.  So, the organizers withdrew the application and told Loftis the event would focus on activities at Club 34.

Without a permit, Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson says he has no plans to have extra officers on the beach this weekend. Peterson says he worked with Gulfport Police on a security plan, in case the college spring break party organizers got the official documents they need. Peterson said he would need up to 25 officers on the beach each day to provide proper security.

Peterson has developed a staffing plan, but won't enact the plan unless county supervisors authorize official party events. The earliest that can happen is at the March 6 supervisors' meeting.

Ford believes Gulfport could be a popular alternative for Spring Breakers, especially after destinations like Daytona Beach and Panama City Beach decided to close their beaches to college students for the month of March.

"We wanted to create a cost-effective location for students to relax, release and have a good time in a city that welcomes them," Ford said in a news release. "Students are currently planning trips to places like Cancun, Jamaica and Padre Island for over $2,500 a person. The average student can't afford that. But, a group of four students can travel to and from Gulfport, MS for less than $500 a person on one week's stay.

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