In the eighties, the City of Fort Lauderdale was actively promoting itself as a Spring Break venue. A newspaper of the time said that from mid-February until early April, 350,000 students were expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale and – probably the biggest reason for the campaign – that it was estimated that they would bring in over $100 million of business.
The city wanted that business but it didn’t want riotous students. One plan was to provide free ‘Spring Break Games’ on the beach – games like volleyball, tug of war and Trivial Pursuit. I don’t know about you but when I was a student and on vacation, those ativities weren’t exactly at the forefront of my mind.
Just in case the games didn’t do the trick, the city made a few amanedements to its rules. Suddenly, it was illegal to carry containers of alcohol. But the real blow (well, I imagine so anyway) was that the city raised the legal drinking age. A newspaper report in February 1986 said that now, you have to have been born before June 30, 1966 in order to be able to drink in Fort Lauderdale.
This meant that students who had enjoyed Spring Break at Fort Lauderdale the previous year, suddenly wouldn’t be able to raise a glass that year.
I bet that seriously affected the $100 million estimate 🙂
Photograph courtesy of Tropical Sun Design