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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 6 years ago

AquaPalooza brings calm waters

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Longboat Key officials and residents say boat bash was a model of decorum.
by: Terry O’Connor News Editor

Despite pre-event concerns that AquaPalooza would be too rowdy, the sandbar-based bash near Jewfish Key stirred no troubled waters Saturday.

One Monday email to Town Hall complimented Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming and Fire Chief Paul Dezzi for proactively containing any possible shenanigans.

“Your folks did a terrific job at the Saturday AquaPalooza Jewfish Key sandbar party,” read an email signed by Tom and Kim Freiwald. “The persistent, proactive and friendly interaction of the many law enforcement, fire rescue and (U.S. Coast Guard) units, with the many boats on and around the sandbar, kept things under control.”

The Longboat Key Police Department issued no tickets during Aquapalooza, according to Cumming, who was on-site.

“We think it was a success on all sides,” Cumming said. “As far as the police are concerned, we didn’t have any problems.”

Dezzi said one woman was treated and released, possibly after being overcome by too much sun. There were no issues with loud noise or alcohol abuse from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., he said.

“It went very well,” Dezzi said. “We expected more than what happened out there.”

“Absolutely, it couldn’t have gone better,” said Ashley Wawrzyniak with Marine Max. “There were no accidents. No one got crazy. We were all under control. Everyone was pretty great. The sound was perfect. We didn’t have any complaints.”

A few residents expressed concerns about loud music and potential cocktail-induced trespassing before the event, which attracted roughly 40 boats. The Freiwald email said demands on law enforcement were tame.

“Kim and I particularly enjoyed watching law enforcement vessels retrieving wayward inflatable rafts and rings, and then returning to the scrum to try to find the owners (mostly the kids),” the email read. “Well done, and thanks to you and your teams for the great job you always do for LBK.”

After sponsor MarineMax Sarasota christened AquaPalooza “the largest party on the water” with “sunshine, great friends, live music and more,” some Longboat residents said they were dismayed by the prospect of a noisy party on the water. The concerns proved unfounded.

“Absolutely, it couldn’t have gone better,” said Ashley Wawrzyniak with Marine Max. “There were no accidents. No one got crazy. We were all under control. Everyone was pretty great. The sound was perfect. We didn’t have any complaints.”

AquaPalooza organizers also scrambled the week before the event to answer a request from Assistant Town Manager Mike Hein asking them to apply for a public-forums permit since the waters around Jewfish Key fall within Longboat boundaries. The permit was issued two days before AquaPalooza.

Wawrzyniak said the permitting process went smoothly and MarineMax Sarasota would “absolutely” work with the town if it chose to hold another event in Longboat Key jurisdiction. None is planned now, she said.

The most lasting ripple from AquaPalooza may be the need for Longboat Key to look at its public-forum permitting, according to two town officials.

Public Works Director Juan Florensa said the permitting process might need some tweaking.

“I think yes,” Florensa said. “Sometimes we cannot account for every single event we have. It’s a learning system for us. We could probably improve our permitting process and our forms to add more specific information.”

Hein said the Longboat Key Town Commission will likely discuss any necessary revisions to public-forums permitting at a workshop in the near future.

 

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