Floatopia organizer says structure is needed

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The organizer of Floatopia says he wants to right the ship after this year’s party that left 10 tons of trash on the sands of Virginia Beach.

On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered on Chic’s Beach for a party filled with all sorts of flotation devices. On Monday, the beach was covered with trash. Images of that trash went viral, leaving a rising tide of anger around the world. The organizer says he never wants to see that happen again.

Floatopia has been around for about 15 years. Stephen Hobbs has been spearheading it for the last eight.

“There’s so many memories and so many friendships and relationships and good times,” said Hobbs.

This year, he got more than he bargained for. He said, “The magnitude of it was overwhelming.”

Hundreds of people RSVP’d “yes” to attend the beach party. He said, “We did not expect that kind of turnout out there.”

Hobbs says he was worried about trash and bathrooms, but he never expected to see all of the trash scattered across the beach. He said, “I was disgusted by people’s moral standards out there. I can’t control these people.”

He tried to pick up trash during the day, using up a box of 55-gallon leaf bags. He says he stayed on the beach until 10 p.m. and then returned around 6 a.m. the next day. By then, Virginia Beach City Crews had already collected the trash left on the beach.

Hobbs wishes he asked for help sooner. He now has that chance.

“I hope in the future I can do things, work with the city of Virginia Beach and the civic leagues and whoever, whatever I have to do to do the right thing,” said Hobbs. “I just pray that Floatopia doesn’t die because of this.”

The Ocean Park Civic League is having a meeting at 7 on Thursday to discuss the event. Hobbs says he will be there to speak with residents and hopefully come up with a plan for the future.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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