Break out your board shorts (and/or beer goggles): It’s time for a spring break quiz! If you can’t make it to the sunny beaches of Florida, this party puzzler will help you relive your memories and instruct you in a few factoids you may have missed.
Leave it to the Greeks to launch a party tradition celebrating the arrival of Spring. In Greek and Roman times, citizens cheered the new season by celebrating youth, fertility and awakening. Their parties often honored Dionysus or Bacchus -- the Greek and Roman gods of wine.
Spring breaks can start as early as February and end as late as April, but the vacation time for students typically only lasts a week. Spring break often ends near the Easter or Passover holiday.
The Casino Pool was the original spot for spring break swimmers. The city of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. built this Olympic-sized beauty in 1928, and it became a popular spot for kids from northern colleges who were vacationing with their parents in Florida.
Spring break as we know it got its notable beginning in 1936. That spring, a swim coach from Colgate University took his team on a trip to Fort Lauderdale’s first Olympic-sized pool to get them back in shape after their Christmas break.
By 1938, the city of Fort Lauderdale had seized a great marketing opportunity and started hosting the College Swim Coaches’ Forum in the spring. Over 300 swimmers competed in the event, and the first poolside spring break party was born.
“Where the Boys Are” ushered in the 1960s spring break craze with a hip little flick about four Midwestern girls traveling to Fort Lauderdale for spring vacation because “that’s where the boys are.” The film was shot on location in Fort Lauderdale and premiered at the Gateway Theater on Dec. 21, 1960. In the spring of 1961, over 50,000 college students flocked to Fort Lauderdale to find their own romance under the sun.
By 1985, there were nearly 370,000 spring breakers visiting this heathen haven for a week of drinking, dating and debauchery. The usually quaint beach town was fondly called Fort Liquordale by its springtime fans.
Balcony Diving was a popular activity for spring breakers looking for a fresh keg or a place to crash. It was dangerous, but the real challenge was finding your way back to your own balcony at the end of the night.
Small-time actors David Knell and Perry Lang starred in the big-time spring break hit aptly named “Spring Break.” This movie was an update to the “Where the Boys Are” tale and captured the essence of spring break in Fort Lauderdale in the 1980s. The story focuses on two guys who roll into town and can’t find a place to stay. They shack up with a couple of troublemakers and the fun ensues. Little did they know that the overcrowded hotels and raucous parties their film featured would foreshadow a future where college students were no longer welcome in Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale made it clear that the college crowd was no longer welcome, so students moved north to a beach that was cheaper and more permissive -- Daytona Beach.
As the 1980s wore on, spring break started to center around more organized parties and events. MTV capitalized on this trend by hosting a spring break special that broadcast live from the beach, as well as from nightclubs and concerts. Now kids across the country could experience Daytona Beach and the daily suntan report without leaving their couch.
It’s a fact! Who knew that girls were going wild before Joe Francis started his GWG productions in 1997. The 1929 movie was about a girl who got mad at her beau’s dad and decided to dump her guy. When she got caught up with a no-good bootlegger, her ex saved the day. Francis’ “Girls Gone Wild” gals were up to no good, either -- but that’s a different story.
It seems like every decade has brought a new spring break locale into the spotlight, and Panama City was next in line. Panama City Beach, or PCB to the locals, eclipsed Daytona and became the newest place to party. At the same time, college students were branching out to other sunny spots like Palm Springs, Calif., and Cancun, Mexico.
Texas has a lot of fun swimming holes to spend spring break in, but South Padre Island is by far the most popular place for a Texas-sized spring break.
Alternative spring breaks are all the rage these days. Instead of vague memories of a hedonistic playground like PCB, students sign on for a week of volunteer work with agencies like the United Way. Now that’s a spring break you can feel good about!
Yearly spring break spending in Florida and Texas adds up to nearly 1 billion dollars, and most students spend around $1100 during the week of spring break.
Kelly Clarkson hit the big screen in “From Justin to Kelly,” starring alongside “American Idol” runner-up Justin Guarini. Though the two meet during spring break, Kelly’s singing career lasts longer than a springtime fling.
The American Medical Association made this claim in 2002. Since the 1980s, the AMA has been warning students of the dangers of spring break, which include binge drinking, unprotected sex and sunburn.
Students on spring break consume an average of 10 alcoholic drinks per day -- a huge increase from their normal average of 6 per week. According to “Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” moderate drinking means no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Maybe the AMA does have a reason to be worried.
In the episode “Kill the Alligator and Run,” Homer takes a wild ride on a airboat and kills the county’s beloved mascot -- an alligator named Captain Jack. It turns out that the gator was only temporarily knocked out, but the Simpsons are banned from returning to Florida ever again. I guess we won’t be seeing Bart and Lisa on MTV’s “Spring Break,” even if they ever do age past elementary school.