Boardwalk brawls overwhelm Va. Beach, unsuspecting tourists

Posted at 11:32 PM, Apr 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-30 07:24:51-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WTVR) - After a rough week in Richmond dealing with life’s usual stresses, do you ever go to the beach to unwind? Some make the two-hour drive to Virginia Beach.  But after this past weekend, they’re wondering if they'll ever do it again.

They might as well have called it “brawling on the boardwalk,” because over a span of just 12 hours from Saturday night into Sunday morning, Virginia Beach police responded to 325 calls for service. Police made 148 arrests.

"This is one week that will kill the whole summer," said one business owner.

"It was a nightmare, I'm surprised no one got killed down here," said George Smith, another business owner.  He said college-age kids were out of control and now fears profits may plummet.

"It's a black-eye for Virginia Beach," said Smith.

"There was some sort of perceived entitlement attitude,” said Richmonder Amy Jones, who was among the masses over the weekend. "There was just a definite disregard for the law," she said.

She was hoping to enjoy a peaceful beach getaway, but instead got a reminder of the oceanfront's troubled past.

"From 1989 when the riots happened until now, Virginia Beach has spent so much time and money on making it a nice place to go again,” said Jones. “If I had never been there prior to this weekend, then I would never go back."

For some 30,000 to 40,000 tourists, their first impression seeing what took place last weekend, could mean their last visit to Virginia Beach.

The mayor acknowledged it was College Beach Weekend 2013, a gathering that has some from our area, saying next time, if there is one, they'll make sure to call ahead.

"If I go back, I'll definitely ask if there's some sort of college thing going on where I know there will be misbehavior,” said Jones.

Leighanne Coverstone, a  Facebook fan writes,  “There is a huge cheer competition there next weekend, with thousands of young ladies around.”  She says she hopes the powers-that-be get it together to ensure their safety.