MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Freaknik, a spring break for black college students was held for years in Atlanta, but eventually became so synonymous with debauchery, nudity and lawlessness, that Atlanta ran Freaknik out of town. That was twelve years ago.
But it’s back. Freaknik, or some incarnation of it, is being resurrected on South Beach.
A promoter’s website, featuring suggestive videos and photos, is advertising Freaknik Miami weekend in March on South Beach. It has caught the attention of beach officials who, so far, are not concerned.
“I know what a chore it was for Atlanta to finally get this event out of Atlanta, but I think at this point they might be making a mountain out of a mole hill,” said Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora.
Gongora noted that the promoter of the event is a small operator, who has reserved space in only a few small hotels, and is planning to sell weekend charter bus packages to only about 3,000 customers.
The promoter, Otis Bailey, told CBS4 News by phone from Atlanta Friday that the event he’s planning is scaled back and low key.
“I think right now the name is what’s got things riled up, and it’s just a name,” Bailey said. “We’re just going to go down there and have fun, not tear anything up at all, just enjoy Miami.”
But the event’s website promises “the ultimate party,” a Freaknik “bigger, badder, sexier” than ever before. And on the charter buses down from Atlanta, the package deal includes “unlimited drinks,” a “booze cruise.”
A group of young women visiting South Beach from the Washington D.C. area Friday said they might come back down for the Freaknik “experience.”
“You gotta get naked, drunk, party the whole time and don’t remember the next day where you left your drawers,” Tish Lee said laughingly.
Beach officials remember the first Urban Week on South Beach where word of mouth among the hip hop crowd brought hundreds of thousands of unexpected visitors to town.
The weekend devolved into chaos as the beach was caught off guard, having failed to provide necessary police, crowd control and other resources to deal with what became an overwhelming event.
The Beach said it will be ready if the Freaknik event “takes off.”
Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez said the city will monitor information on the promotion that comes during a spring break period where police and other resources will already be ramped up.
“We will adjust our plan based on whatever ultimately is determined to be any anticipated impact,” Fernandez said.