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Floatopia: Beaches near UC Santa Barbara to be closed this weekend to prevent booze-fest

April 8, 2011 | 11:21 am

L0h6pfnc For the second weekend in a row, Santa Barbara County officials are closing beaches at Isla Vista beginning Saturday to prevent a Floatopia mega-party virally promoted on the Web.

The closure is aimed at preventing a recurrence of a 2009 Floatopia event that drew some 12,000 to the shore near UC Santa Barbara. Thirteen people were arrested, dozens were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, and the beach was left in a shamble of trash and debris, including human waste.

County parks director Thomas Fayram said the closure is necessary to protect the beach environment and public health.

“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department will enforce the closure,” he said in a statement.

Floatopias--all-day booze-a-thons on inflatable rafts and pool toys--have spread along with social networking.

In 2007, the event drew about 300 people to Isla Vista beaches.

This year, more than 14,000 people “confirmed” their attendance at a Facebook page for the event; 2,400 others said they were “maybe attending.”

Last year, the San Diego City Council looked to stamp out Floatopias in Mission Bay by extending its ban of alcohol on beaches to bathers up to three nautical miles from the shoreline.

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-- Mike Anton

Photo: The 2009 Floatopia in Santa Barbara. Credit: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

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