Floatopia Trashed Miami Beach (Just Like Everywhere Else It Has Been Held)

Well, congratulations Miami. We've ruined Floatopia. The latest edition of the semiannual beach bacchanal boosting all things buoyant drew tens of thousands of revelers to South Pointe Park this past Saturday, but the partiers left behind mountains of trash. Now city officials are calling for an end to the event, seemingly everyone with a Beach address and a social media account has weighed in, and the party's anonymous social media organizers have even signaled they may be done. 

This news shouldn't be a surprise. Nor should there be much-heated finger-pointing or impassioned pleas to save the event. The Floatopia concept is not a Miami original, and it seems a similar fate has met the festivity in every city in which it has been held. 

The Miami version has had some problems with littering, and the official Floatopaia Facebook page posted several reminders to attendees to clean up after themselves. Volunteers signed up to help with the aftermath, and the City of Miami Beach even produced a video reminding people to clean up.
Well, so much for that. Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco went to check out the aftermath and found tons of trash. In a heated Facebook Live video, he promised the event would be banned. 
Although some volunteers and city sanitation crews worked into the dark trying to clean up, there was still tons of garbage left over the next morning. 
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who was in New York City campaigning for Hillary Clinton, caught wind of the disaster. He took to Twitter to post a meme (originally with a picture from a Floatopia event in California, but then eventually got it right).  Floatopia's social media organizers, who have remained anonymous throughout the history of the event, even condemned the aftermath. Floatopia's Miami edition began in 2012 and has attracted increasingly larger crowds year after year. The idea is that attendees bring floats and simply chill out in the water en masse. It also leads to a large party atmosphere on the beach. 

However, Floatopia has never been a city-sanctioned event, and the only organizing on the event's part has been done through corralling volunteers through social media. 

The original Floatopia, which started in 2004, catered to students at Santa Barbara City College and the University of California, Santa Barbara. For its first few years, it attracted no more than a thousand people. The event, however, grew quickly, leaving litter and disorder in its wake, and by 2010, Santa Barbara city officials barricaded public access to the beach on the planned weekend. A protest party dubbed "Deltopia" (named after a local street) soon grew out of the chaos. In 2013, an 18-year-old woman was found dead on the beach at Deltopia

Another Floatopia event popped up in San Diego in 2008, but by 2010, city officials there had banned it. 

Floatopia also occurs in Palm Beach County. In 2014, bedlam led to an overturned boat and several people being treated for medical conditions. 

Late last year, an Australian version of the event was canceled due to environmental concerns. 

In Miami Beach, there will be much hand-wringing and finger-pointing. On an official level, Mayor Levine has already promised to create a committee to review how the city deals with similar large-scale events that aren't officially condoned or centrally planned. 

But it seems that anywhere Floatopia is held, it leads to disaster. 
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Kyle Munzenrieder

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