BRADENTON BEACH -- Floatopia Miami organizers say there is no plan to bring their event to Coquina Beach on Saturday, contrary to what the Bradenton Beach Police Department has heard.
"Please note we are Floatopia MIAMI, the only events we know about are the ones WE plan... in MIAMI," organizers said in an email Wednesday to the Bradenton Herald. "If you take a look at our last post (on our instagram @floatopiamiami or Facebook page 'floatopia miami'), you will understand that it would be
senseless, irresponsible and completely contradictory to post what we did and then carelessly turn around a plan another event in another city in less than two weeks. ... It makes for a great story but that is not who we are or what we stand for."
Floatopia Miami, which takes place in Miami Beach several times a year, is known for people "floating and relaxing on rafts along the coast and mingling on the beach," according to the official website. Photos on the website show beaming beachgoers with colorful inflatable ride-ons -- a bright orange lobster, a giant striped sandal, and an oversized pink teacup on the water are just a few featured in a photo gallery.
The latest Floatopia Miami event April 16, however, didn't go well with Miami Beach officials after the beach was trashed with discarded rafts, bottles and cans, the Miami Herald reported. The bitter taste hit Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale, who said Tuesday the agency was concerned about the event possibly making its way to Coquina Beach.
"I'm pleased to find out that the main group is not the one that's coming here," he said Wednesday. "I'm sure they mean well, I'm sure they have great events out there, but I don't think that main event would have fit well here. We're still not going to stand down with our coverage because obviously there's another outside group that's trying to create that same type of event."
Speciale said the problem is people drinking alcohol at the event.
"In the pictures, it's a lot of people laying out, relaxing in the water and drinking. There's no alcohol allowed on any of our beaches out here," he said. "To have people out floating around in the water is fine, but we're not going to allow alcohol."
Chief Speciale said he's always concerned when the agency receives information about an event that will involve a large number of people.
"If people are planning to come out here with the idea that this is going to be a Floatopia event, they need to know that it's not and we will be enforcing the open container laws out here," he said. "If their plan is to come out in a float and have a safe and good time at the beach, then we're all for it."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.