JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first Orange Crush Festival in Jacksonville began Friday, and the first event to kick off the festival was at The Justice Pub downtown.
Stephon Smith has been preparing for thousands to attend the festival.
“It feels awesome. It feels great to have it here in Jacksonville, to know my city is elevating,” Smith said.
Jerrilyn Lane traveled six hours to be a vendor at The Justice Pub for the vendor, social mixer and showcase.
“I love the fact that we can come together with no drama. Enjoy. Have fun and be adults,” Lane said.
The three-day festival will take place at various locations around Jacksonville. With the amount of people expected to attend, people can expect traffic along Atlantic, Beach and J. Turner Butler boulevards.
Ben Frazier, the leader of the activist group the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, believes the event will be good for the community, but called out what the group sees as a negative bias, saying in a statement: “We are bothered by the Sheriffs [sic] moves to make (extra room in the Duval County jail) in anticipation of this event. Why is that?”
Sheriff Mike Williams released an updated statement ahead of the event, which reads:
“We are pleased to have a collaborative approach to welcoming the 3-day festival into our community. Large scale events like these are not new to our folks and we are ready. I am confident the men and women of JSO will provide an exceptional level of service to both our residents and our visitors for this busy weekend. As always, JSO is here to assist anyone in need. We want everyone to have a safe and fun weekend.”
Anderson Brown, media manager for Orange Crush, says the festival will help businesses.
“This is important for all of the business out here, every business that we talked to was more inviting,” Brown said.
“This will be a positive event for the community,” Smith added. “We are doing arts, the entertainers, for the musicians, the vendors -- it’s not just a bunch of kids coming to a party.”