Volusia sheriff warns of possible unsanctioned ‘Trucktoberfest’ event

Event is expected Oct. 21-23

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Law enforcement in Volusia County is putting out a warning ahead of a truck event this weekend that’s caused big problems in the past.

Officials said the unsanctioned “Trucktoberfest” could bring crowds to Daytona Beach starting Friday and Sheriff Mike Chitwood is using a new law to create an area where there will be increased penalties to keep crowds under control.

It’s the second time since this law took effect this year that the sheriff is using it to designate a special event zone.

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“Traffic fines in the special event zone are doubled. If your truck is not street legal meaning there’s equipment on there you shouldn’t be operating on the highways, it will be towed and impounded,” Chitwood said.

The sheriff said his office and Daytona Beach police have eyes on the pop-up “Trucktoberfest” event that’s being promoted to take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The sheriff wrote a letter to the organizer telling them to stop promoting it but they’re still prepared.

“We’re not seeing a lot of traction on social media, however that doesn’t mean they haven’t gone underground or aren’t using another venue to advertise this,” he said.

State representatives created the law this year that targets unpermitted, pop-up events like this.

The idea came after the 2021 unsanctioned “Truck Meet” cost Daytona Beach police over $178,000 in overtime. Officers also gave out close to a thousand citations, arrested dozens, and beaches were torn up.

Another event took place in June.

Now, the sheriff can also hold the promoter accountable for those overtime costs.

“When we start incurring huge costs is when I’m going to go after you, and this kid in Ormond Beach (the promoter), he needs to understand, and his family needs to understand that he’s going to be on the hook for several hundred thousand dollars if this thing goes haywire,” he said.

This weekend, all of Daytona Beach beachside and Daytona Beach Shores will be heavily policed.

Daytona Beach Chief Jakari Young said his department will use the zone as leverage.

“Even though they’re coming into town, we still want to give them the opportunity to comply,” he said.

If the big crowds do show up, they will also have to deal with what Hurricane Ian left behind.

“There’s still quite a bit of debris, you still have quite a few hotels that sustained quite a bit of damage over there, so the timing isn’t great obviously but if they’re coming, we’re going to be prepared for them,” Young said.

The Special Event Zone was also added to navigation phone apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze so residents and visitors can see where it is.

Chitwood said he wants to make it clear that any shenanigans would be dealt with.

“If you come here and show your ass, we’re going to show ours,” Chitwood said.

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