Photo Gallery | Jacksonville Beach: Official Opening
Miller on Sports was at the beach on Saturday to witness spectacular weather. Sunny, Clear Skies, 85 to 90 degrees with a cool breeze. Water temperature: 70 degrees. Surf: 1 to 2 feet.
The beaches (Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach) officially opened for summertime fun on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Although the beaches are available for public use all year long, many beachgoers wait for the annual "opening of the beaches" before they pack up the car with the cooler, dog, children, fried chicken, chairs, and beach towels. With the official opening of the beaches come the lifeguards, a parade, a sand sculpting competition, concessions and concerts. Maybe there is a direct correlation between the end of March Madness and the NFL draft and the official opening of the beaches!
Thousands of beachgoers flooded the beaches. Parking was at a premium, as those arriving desperately searched for the perfect parking space.
The popular pastimes at the beach included biking, surfing, swimming, sand sculpting, bocce ball, corn hole, baseball, football, soccer, Frisbee throwing, kites, surf fishing, skim boarding, body surfing, boating, ladder ball, sunbathing and people watching. The noticeable difference between the official opening day and any other beach day was the number of organized groups enjoying the day together.
Driving on the beach is no longer permitted within the city limits of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, or Atlantic Beach. In the past, the beaches allowed drivers to park and drive their cars on the beach. At that time, beachgoers could enjoy a leisurely drive on the wide, hard-packed sands. It was truly a sight to see and a parade of its own. With cars permitted on the beach at that time, families could stuff their cars with food, coolers, and anything else that made the day more pleasant. But, due to health and welfare concerns (oil from the cars polluting the beaches and accidents involving cars and pedestrians), parking and driving on the beaches were discontinued.
When driving was permitted on the beaches, it became a pastime for many beachgoers to either help drivers with stranded cars or just watch cars sink deeper in the sand. Not understanding the beach tides and how quickly the conditions can change, many tourists were caught off-guard when they would park their cars and not monitor the tide. While distracted by other pastimes, tourists would not see the tide roll in to sink the car in the sands. The salt water would literally slosh around the car, and the tide would dig the tires deeper into the sands. Of course, Monster truck owners became the heroes and would wait to be summoned to assist. In some cases, cars drifting into the ocean's waves have bobbled in the surf until the tow truck could be called to save the day. If you are interested in driving on the beach, it still permitted at Daytona Beach (birthplace of auto racing) and New Smyrna Beach areas, a Volusia County tradition dating back to the early days of the automobile. Those beaches post rules and regulations in an effort to ensure that all beachgoers and their cars remain safe and secure.
On Saturday, Jacksonville Beach hosted its annual sand sculpting contest in front of the Sea Walk Pavilion. A Jacksonville Beach native's horse in the sand won "Best in Show" as the top prize.
On Sunday, May 13, 2012, Jacksonville Beach will host "Pops at the Beach" in honor of Mother's Day from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m. The concert will feature Goliath Flores at 6:00 p.m. and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Limited preferred seating available.
THIS INFORMATION WAS COMPILED BY RADIO SPORTS TALK HOST AND JACKSONVILLE GIANTS TELEVISION PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER RICHARD MILLER. AT 26, RICHARD MILLER IS THE YOUNGEST RADIO SPORTS TALK HOST IN THE NATION. HIS SHOW, MILLER ON SPORTS, AIRS WEEKDAYS FROM 4:00 TO 6:00 P.M. ON AM 1600 WZNZ. LISTEN TO MILLER ON SPORTS. “EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST TALK.” All photographs and images are the property of Miller On Sports. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Photos by: B.L. Miller
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