Raucous crowd fills Ginnie Springs Partying results in 74 calls to police, arrests

Nothing from September 23, 2021 to October 7, 2021.


Ginnie sign2 In: Raucous crowd fills Ginnie Springs Partying results in 74 calls to police, arrests | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

One estimate for crowds at Ginnie over Memorial Day weekend was 30,000.  That explains in part the amount of trash that went into the river.  If you are looking for peace and quiet on the river, this is not the place.

The Gainesville Sun did not provide a link to this article.

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Raucous crowd fills Ginnie Springs

Partying results in 74 calls to police, arrests

Cindy Swirko

Gainesville Sun USA TODAY NETWORK  June 3, 2021

Ginnie Springs Outdoors has always been party central on summer weekends but it was in overdrive for the Memorial Day holiday.

Videos show a night rave with a loud sound system, foam machine and people dancing with glow sticks.

Springs were clogged with party rafts, unicorn floaties and other buoyant craft.

A camper had the front bumper ripped off her car, which was damaged in other ways.

The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office had 74 calls for service inside the park plus calls from outside for noise, made 10 arrests and wrote 18 reports for cases such as parents who could not find their children.

Gilchrist County Emergency Medical Services also responded for calls ranging from overheating to overdrinking.

“I believe there were more people this year than last year just due to the pandemic but this is typical crowds for Ginnie Springs on Memorial

Day weekend. It’s definitely a celebration and party atmosphere,” sheriff’s Lt. Keagon Weatherford. “This is a privately owned park open to the public that has different rules than the state parks. They allow for alcohol, people driving around to the different camp sites, loud music.”

Ginnie Springs’ managers did not return phone and email messages Wednesday.

Among those camping over the weekend was Laura Meyer. She formerly lived in High Springs and has visited Ginnie Springs in the past. But Meyer said she never experienced Ginnie so crowded, noisy and dangerous to others as it was over the weekend.

Young unattended children wandered into her group’s campsite, her car became a trampoline on which people jumped and was badly damaged with the stolen bumper and grille, and she was fearful of walking around alone at night. “They had a bubble party in the main pavilion all the way across the other side of the spring. It was loud and in the middle of the night,” Meyer said. “It had foaming bubbles and neon lights and people were tripping and doing all kinds of stuff. I’m not kidding — I had people walk up and try to sell me drugs.” Another big party featured a stripper pole, Meyer said. The Ginnie Springs website has a list of rules that include no drinking to excess, quiet hours between midnight and 8 a.m., adult supervision of children under 12 at all times, no DJs or bands, no foul or abusive language and no fighting.

Ginnie Springs has long attracted a boisterous crowd, especially compared with nearby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park and Poe Springs, a park owned by Alachua County. All are on County Road 340. Blue and Poe prohibit alcohol. Camping is available at Blue, but it has far fewer spaces than Ginnie.

Ginnie is also embroiled in a controversy over the piping of water from property offsite to a Nestle water bottling plant. Weatherford said Ginnie Springs hired four deputies to work in the park from about 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. over the three-day weekend. He added that the sheriff’s department also had regular deputies there at times.

“We had several trespassing calls of people who were in the park and stayed past the time they were supposed to be there … We had several fights where arrests were made,” Weatherford said. “It’s such a big park and there were so many people that we had several missing people. We had one stolen vehicle that I’m aware of. And we had several medical calls where we assisted them.”

Meyer pledged never to go back. “It’s been gradually getting worse and worse,” Meyer said. “I like to have fun, everybody likes to have fun once in a while and I was like, OK, maybe it won’t be as bad. Oh my God.”

“I believe there were more people this year than last year just due to the pandemic but this is typical crowds for Ginnie Springs on Memorial Day weekend. It’s definitely a celebration and party atmosphere.”

Lt. Keagon Weatherford

Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office

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2 Comments

    1. I dream with the day that place becomes a state park so i don’t have to go down the Santa Fe with my kayaking cleaning up after party animals for several miles. Those glow stick will be on the fish bellies in no time.

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