I was dismayed to see the picture and short writeup on the “spring break flash party” on the front page of last week’s Boca Beacon. The picture was totally inaccurate, and the four or five accompanying sentences completely whitewashed what actually happened.
The picture showed a moderately crowded beach scene, unlike the approximately 150 kids we viewed in front of our house on 12th St. They were no more scantily clad than any other group of teenagers and could have been photographed by your paper to give a more accurate picture of the party scene. Perhaps the Boca Beacon didn’t want to show the real event for fear of alarming islanders and tourists. The true story is that the kids completely took over the beach, leaving no room for any other beachgoers. And the party lasted 7 hours (10.a.m. to 5 p.m.), far longer than the “few hours” reported by the Beacon.
The article described a party that went from “14th to 17th St.,” but I assure you hordes of people stretched out all the way to 11th St. The article also stated that “the only problems that came from the party were a few beers poured out by Lee County Sheriff’s Office and a major amount of flesh being shown.” There were more than a few beers – some empties buried in the sand, some thrown in the sea- grass and some in the piles of trash left behind.
Now imagine 600 kids (the Beacon’s estimate) having a party on a six-block stretch of beach with no facilities. And then picture enough trash to fill multiple large garbage bags. And finally, visualize groups of barely clad teenagers walking up and down Gasparilla Road, and while you might think this was Coney Island, it was really Boca Grande on Good Friday.
The frightening aspect of this phenomenon is that it can recur at any time. High school kids are always looking for a new venue and now they have found it. The parking is free, and they have direct access to a beautiful beach.