Oct 27, 2022 - News

Miami Beach wants a new spring break reputation: "fitness month"

A Miami Beach Police vehicle cuts through crowds near Ocean Drive during Spring Break in Miami Beach, Florida, on Saturday, March 19, 2022.

A Miami Beach police vehicle cuts through spring break crowds near Ocean Drive on March 19, 2022. Photo: Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Miami Beach wants spring breakers to do squats — not shots — when they come to South Beach this year.

Driving the news: The City Commission on Wednesday approved a $3.2 million plan to create a monthlong sports and fitness event in March to curb the rowdy partying that has frustrated city leaders in years past.

Why it matters: The new strategy — first reported by the Miami Herald — comes after two shootings on Ocean Drive disrupted a relatively calm spring break this year, injuring five people. The violence led Miami Beach to declare a state of emergency and impose a midnight curfew.

  • For years, Miami Beach has relied on heavy-handed policing to address raucous partying on public streets and beaches. In the last two decades, the city and its police have been criticized repeatedly for their treatment of Black and brown tourists visiting during Memorial Day weekend and spring break.

Between the lines: Now the city is trying to counterprogram spring break parties. It's the second consecutive year the city will host monthlong events in March — dubbed Miami Beach Live!

  • Last March, Miami Beach funded a concert series in Lummus Park and on the beach featuring artists catering to the over-40 crowd, including Juanes and Alanis Morissette. The goal was to draw a broader tourist demographic to the area, beyond college-age party crowds, the city's tourism director told the Herald at the time.
  • Next year's "fitness month" will include a Major League Baseball fan experience, beach tennis and soccer matches, and a beach volleyball tournament in a pop-up stadium.
  • There will also be an arts and music festival hosted by Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, as well as smaller events hosted by Nike, Crunch, and RCX Sports.

What they're saying: Pierre Rutledge, chair of the Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board, called the city's plan a "step in the right direction" but said it does not include any activities geared toward traditional spring break crowds.

  • "I applaud the mayor and the city commission in Miami Beach, however this is the first time I've seen this," Rutledge told Axios. "We offered to be involved in the process, give our opinions where needed and we were not invited to the table."

His hope for this year's spring break? "Let's be fair, let's be equitable, and let's be inclusive."


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