Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

November Beach Party; Georgia Students Get on Their Game Faces, but First, Some Fun

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

November Beach Party; Georgia Students Get on Their Game Faces, but First, Some Fun

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

ST. SIMONS ISLAND | More than 1,000 University of Georgia students and fans hit the island's beach Friday for the annual beach party before Saturday's game in Jacksonville.

And that was before the party, which continues all day, really got started.

With that huge number already on the beach, the revelers kept streaming along the sand from the north and south dragging heavy coolers and toting big plastic jugs filled with fruity cocktails.

"It's better than Christmas. It's Georgia-Florida,'' Mary Gallagher said as she made her way toward a crowd where red dominated the clothing styles. "We think of it as Christmas."

"When you get here, everyone is the happiest they've ever been,'' her friend Anna Raines said.

"It's always fun,'' said Amanda Busch, who explained her last name "as like the beer."

But the contents of her plastic container was not like the beer.

"Wild berry vodka and Coke,'' she said.

A friend recoiled a little and asked why she would mix the two beverages.

"It was available," Busch said.

At 24, she can mix whatever she likes and not get in trouble.

"I'm in law school. I'm technically supposed to be in class,'' she said.

The women far outnumbered the men early on and Rebecca Smith of Marietta and Hayley Basnett of Dayton, Ohio, walked around in their big-rimmed "minion'' glasses.

"It our third year, baby,'' Basnett said.

Smith said the students have their own shorthand version of the Georgia-Florida weekend.

"Gah-fla,'' she said. "That's how we pronounce it."

As the partiers arrived at beach access points, police checked their coolers for glass and handed out trash bags. Volunteers will hit the beach Saturday morning to clean up the mess they usually leave.

A woman with an unopened bottle of wine dumped a big plastic bottle of soft drink and refilled the bottle with the wine. …

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