MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Preps are underway for Memorial Day Weekend in Miami Beach with many revelers already arriving.
As in years past, there will be plenty of hip-hop on Miami Beach this Urban Beach weekend. Fans were already arriving Thursday. There will be a military air and sea show saluting those who have served. The World Out Games will attract thousands of LGBT athletes and supporters.
As of Friday, some were already in the mix.
“Just here to have a good time, relax, see the beautiful women. We’re from New York actually. We’re just here to get away and have a good time,” said Zach Wong.
“It’s a great thing. It’s beautiful people out here, just amazing. The weather’s amazing,” said Daniel Dwitt.
CBS4’s Ted Scouten spoke to a group of women from Las Vegas who came here for a change of scenery and a chance to cut loose.
“Vegas is crazy but we want to be tropical and enjoy ourselves, live our lives and be young, it’s Memorial Day weekend,” said visitor Unique Chavis.
Barricades have been erected on major thoroughfares to widen the sidewalks to accommodate the expected throngs.
While festivities are on the mind, so is safety.
Florida International University’s FAST (Florida Advanced Surgical Transport) team of first responders will be setting up a 10-bed mobile hospital on 10th and Ocean Drive. Their concern is easy access for rescue crews both by land and air. Large crowds and traffic congestion is expected to hamper rescue efforts if there is an emergency.
“With the gridlock and traffic conditions we’re expecting, if we do have any sort of serious injuries or illness it would be very difficult for fire rescue to get those patients to the hospital,” said Steve Williams with FIU.
Traffic is also on the mind but there are other options.
“Arrive early, use our parking garages, use rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft to get around. We’ll have tons of officers out there doing DUI patrols,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez on Thursday.
“We have a lot of officers out here on the streets to insure everyone’s safety,” added Rodriguez on Friday.
For those opting to drive, take note that Ocean Drive is closed to vehicular traffic. Only pedestrians can go into the area until Monday at 7 a.m.
Starting at 7 p.m. Collins Avenue and Washington will operate as a traffic loop with Collins heading North and Washington going South.
Previous Memorial Day weekends have seen some locals get out-of-town, a declining trend.
“When I got here seven years ago it was crazy,” said Marcella Dimartino, who lives on the beach and owns a store said Thursday. “Now, I think it’s much more quiet.”
If you’re not on land, then you can opt for the sea.
Miami Beach is encouraging families to come out and bring the kids this year. If the beach will be bustling this weekend, the waters will be filled with a flotilla of fun lovers, and an armada of police vessels enforcing boating laws.
“We ask that everyone boat responsibly this holiday weekend, and remember to wear your life jackets. They save lives,” said Coast Guard Lt. Raymond Heberlig at a Thursday news conference.
For information on road closures, traffic rerouting, and event times and locations click here:
If you need help getting around Miami Beach or finding the best parking spots, visit MiamiBeachFL.gov.