The Opening of the Beaches
Annual Opening of the Beach Parade
Sunday - For over 60 years the city of Jacksonville Beach has deemed it necessary to officially declare the beaches as "open" by having a parade loop around Second and First Streets. Originally conceived as a way to attract people to the beach, up until a couple of years ago the festivities also included a three day festival. Then the businesses in Jax Beach started whining about having too many people coming to the beach and not patronizing their stores, restaurants etc. At that point, our city council members decried that we don't need to attract people to the beaches because they will come anyway. Thus came the banning of the 3 day festivals, (except for Springing the Blues) and the festivals in Jax Beach dwindled from about 5 festivals to what appears to be only 2 this year, as the Fiesta Playera quietly gets dropped from the agenda.
The parade however is still in full force! With participants coming from all over the First Coast, and even some from the Gulf Coast, beach communities all come together in Jax Beach to march and ride for a good hour and forty five minutes, covering about 24 blocks of First and Second Streets. The Opening of the Beaches Parade Lives On!