Spring break forever: A history

Spring Break by Sydney Kruljac
Visitors of Siesta Key relax in the warm Florida weather while enjoying the beach.


The traffic has suddenly increased in Sarasota; the beaches are flooded with people; restaurants are packed to the brim with old and young alike. It all signals the arrival of spring – the season of fertility and awakening. A tradition that should be credited perhaps to Dionysus seems to actually fall in the hands of a swimming coach from Colgate University, Sam Ingram.

In 1936, Ingram brought his swimming team south to Ft. Lauderdale to practice in the first Olympic-sized pool in Florida, the Casino Pool. By 1938, more than 300 swimmers were competing. The Florida migration of swimmers every spring carried well into the 1960s, when the first spring break movie was created, “Where The Boys Are At.” The movie highlighted men and women swimmers making the trek to Florida to find sunshine, fun and, of course, love. And the road to modern spring break madness was paved.

By the 1970s, the once innocent destination of Ft. Lauderdale started to become raunchier in the ways the modern college student knows today. Students showed off their PDA, they drunkenly dove off of balconies and all the while, tenants wondered why they ever rented out a condo to these reckless kids in the first place.

By 1985, roughly 370,000 students were descending on Ft. Lauderdale, (eventually cleverly coined “Ft. Liquordale”) which subsequently encouraged another movie to be made, “Spring Break,” starring Tom Cruise and Shelley Long. However, as the 1980s neared the end of the decade, Ft. Lauderdale officials began to notice the reckless behavior and enforced stricter laws. In fact, the mayor at the time, Robert Dressler, went so far as to say students were no longer welcomed in Ft. Lauderdale at all.

MTV saw this as a prime opportunity to begin its spring break special in Daytona Beach, FL where the crude and belligerent idea of spring break really took off.

For first-year Lena Nowak-Laird, spring break is no other than an outlet for relaxation after a couple months of hard work and midterms. “I plan on going to the march for Immokalee workers in St. Pete,” Nowak-Laird said. “Then going home for a few days. I plan on going to New England to see family.”

First-year, Annie Rosenblum could not agree more. “I think both fall break and spring break give students much needed time to relax halfway through the semester,” Rosenblum said. “I’m just going home to cuddle with my dog and eat my mom’s spaghetti.”

Sarasota and its surrounding cities also offer many options for students who do not intend to leave campus. With beaches such as Siesta Key and Lido beach only minutes away, students can relax and enjoy Florida’s spring weather for a cheap price. There are also options such as the Mote Marine Laboratory that is open seven days a week from 10:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the evening and tickets are only $19.75. Furthermore, St. Petersburg, only 45 minutes north, offers beaches, museums and nightlife for a cheap price. On Thursday’s after 5 o’clock, tickets to the Dali Museum are at a discounted price of $10.

Perhaps stories from this spring break will not be as boisterous and dangerous as the one portrayed by Harmony Korine’s 2012 flick, “Spring Breakers” or as raunchy as MTV. However, with spring in the air, James Franco’s infamous quote “spring break forever” seems to ring in the ears of every college student preparing for their anticipated spring break whether it means going home, or embarking on an adventure.


Information used from time.com

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