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Black Spring Break still happening on Mississippi Gulf Coast despite permit denials

Photo from Mississippi Black Spring Break/Facebook

Black Spring Break is still happening on the Mississippi Gulf Coast but with some alterations.

On Tuesday, the Biloxi City Council opted to hold up its decision to decline permit requests by Mississippi Black Spring Break organizers to use a vacant lot next to Surf Style in Biloxi for vendors.

Officials denied the application citing elevated safety risks from people crossing Highway 90 back and forth — sentiments echoed by the county. In addition, Harrison County officials also denied permits for special use or commercial sound events on the beach for Black Spring Break.

This means that while vendors will not be present, events can still take place on the beach as long as they are free of charge and there is no amplified sound. Nothing is prohibiting Black Spring Break goers from congregating on the beach in Biloxi and holding tug-of-war matches, bikini contests, and football games.

Though permits have been given the green light for Black Spring Break in years past, public safety concerns took precedence among city and county leaders in their decision to abstain from granting special licenses for the annual spring festivities.

During past Black Spring Break events on the Coast, dozens of officers assisted Biloxi police in maintaining a sense of stability with the influx of tens of thousands of people in the area. That was not the case this year as next to no additional officers signed up to join the law enforcement efforts during the event. A refusal by outside law enforcement to jump in and help stems from last year’s Black Spring Break in which one person was killed and four were injured in a mass shooting near Surf Style.

“This thing has morphed in the last three years. The recipe of guns, drugs, and alcohol in the duration of the event is what is really extraordinary,”  Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich said on The Ricky Mathews Show. “I don’t want anybody to feel that. The impacts on the neighborhoods were extraordinary.”

Black Spring Break is scheduled to be held from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14. Most events will be taking place in Gulfport this year.

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