Jacksonville sheriff describes coordination with Orange Crush organizers as ‘haphazard’

Sheriff Williams says police will be ready for 3-day festival

VIDEO: Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams spoke out on the status of the city’s preparation for the Orange Crush Festival.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams on Thursday spoke out on the status of the city’s preparation for the Orange Crush Festival scheduled for later this month.

Williams told News4Jax that the coordination with organizers has been “haphazard” as city officials plan for the three-day festival, which attracts thousands of people.

Orange Crush is set for June 18 to June 20 and will have events throughout Jacksonville and along the beaches. The festival moved to the Jacksonville area from Georgia’s Tybee Island, where it was held previous years. The mayor of Tybee Island said there were issues with alcohol use, reckless drivers and partiers blocking traffic. Promoters said they wanted to move because what they believe was a lack of resources, limited parking and civil rights violations by Tybee Island officials.

But Williams is striking an optimistic tone for Jacksonville.

“We’re trying to do a lot in coordination with the beaches. A lot of conversation going on, trying to reach out to promoters about what type of event they want to have,” Williams said. “So we’ll continue to work on it and be ready.”

But when News4Jax followed up with a question about dealing with organizers, Williams said: “It has been pretty haphazard. So we’ll continue to work on it and be ready on the 18th.”

Despite that statement, there has been enthusiasm for the festival.

“It will be fun. It will be a nice experience,” said Terry Harris, manager of Mascaras, which is hosting one of the events. “I think we can show up Georgia in a good way and responsibly host this event because it’s going to be major.”

News4Jax also talked Tuesday with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who said the city continues to plan.

“I am grateful people want to host events in Jacksonville, Florida. We celebrate all people. We all work together to have a good time,” Curry said. “I know members of my office have been in touch and members of the public safety center have been in touch, and everyone is working together.”

There is a beach day planned for June 19 at an unspecified location as part of the festival, and beaches officials told News4Jax that they plan to have more details on their planning next week.

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