Daytona Beach police prepare for possible crowds in pop-up ‘Orange Crush’ event

Department plans to have all hands on deck in case of unruly gathering from unpermitted event

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Another big, unpermitted event could be making its way to Daytona Beach this weekend, potentially bringing thousands to the beach for a party.

Police said they are preparing for the event called “Orange Crush” — though, it’s floating around social media that the event has moved.

Police said they’ve heard mixed stories from the promoters of the event. One said that it is coming and the other said it is not. Police said they will have all hands on deck, ready just in case.

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“We still have all of the preparations in place as a pop-up event,” said Deputy Chief Jennifer Whittet.

These pop-up events, organized over social media, are something Whittet said police do not take lightly.

Unruly crowds last year forced police to shut down bridges during “Orlando invades Daytona” on Memorial Day. Officers also dealt with gridlock traffic and cited thousands of violations during Truck Meet in June.

“If you do want to come to Daytona Beach you want to have a good time that’s great — we’ll be prepared for it. We just ask that you follow the laws when you do it,” Whittet said.

The events mean officers are working overtime.

The city first heard about the “Orange Crush” event back in January. On social media, it advertises as a festival for HBCU students.

Several agencies wrote the Atlanta-based promoters letters — one of which was from Sheriff Mike Chitwood that said his office would have “zero tolerance” and “strongly urged against holding it” in Daytona Beach.

Letter from Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood discouraging organizers of " Orange Crush" event from coming to Daytona Beach (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

These unsanctioned or unpermitted events give the city little control. A bill introduced late last year by city leaders after Truck Meet is now awaiting the governor’s signature. It would allow cities to create special event zones for stricter penalties during unsanctioned events.

“They do affect the people who live here. It causes not only traffic but littering, the fumes, nobody can move,” Whittet said.

Meanwhile, Whittet hopes there’s truth to the “Orange Crush” event leaving Central Florida, but she said the department is ready just in case.

“As a major influx of crowds coming into the area, we still have all of that in place,” she said.

About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.