Facebook Twitter

Is St. George fading as spring break mecca?

SHARE Is St. George fading as spring break mecca?

ST. GEORGE — Chelsey Shaw had no regrets Saturday night for choosing to spend her spring break in Utah's Dixie.

"It's a blast, way awesome," enthused Shaw, a 16-year-old West Jordan High School student who arrived in St. George on Wednesday for a five-day break from schoolwork. "It was out of control last night, and there's been tons of kids. It's way fun!"

Shaw and her best friend, 16-year-old Katie Strong, giggled and shivered in the crisp night air as they stood outside the Iceberg Drive-In on St. George Boulevard. They joined hundreds of other teenage boys and girls who kept the popular burger and ice cream joint hopping over the three-day weekend.

"We're doing well. Our Friday profits were up by about $1,000," said Iceberg owner Jay Swann as he manned the front counter. "Our profits are up by 20 percent this year during spring break."

Teenagers barely outnumbered police in some spots along the Boulevard, which meant many of the officers on overtime got to go home early.

"This just isn't the place to party anymore," said St. George Deputy Chief of Police Russ Peck, as he surveyed the vacant sidewalks that were clogged with thousands of teens just a year ago. "I think we've turned the corner. The hard-core partyers are going somewhere else."

In fact, it was such a dull Saturday night that Peck told officers manning the portable Incident Command Center truck to pack up and go home.

A preliminary look at the number of arrests and citations issued over the three-day weekend puts 2005 at the bottom of a once-dubious claim to fame as one of MTV's top three hot spots for spring break.

St. George police spokesman Craig Harding said the city's glory days as a wild and crazy place during spring break are definitely waning.

"We're beginning to reap the benefits of four years of handing out citations," said Harding. "The senior high kids know we'll issue citations, and that's filtering down. There are a ton of good kids that come for spring breakSpring Break that we never see here, though."

Saturday evening's arrests were for outstanding warrants, drunken driving and possession of methamphetamine. About the only tense moment on Saturday was when someone released a stink bomb inside the Iceberg and police had to clear the place out.

One officer said he wasn't sure it was a stink bomb at all. "It smelled more like a really bad case of a teenage boy'sboys' dirty socks," he said.

A temporary receiving center that bustled in years past bustled with frightened teens and angry parents was nearly empty.

"We're shutting down early," Harding said about 10 minutes past midnight on Saturday, noting the receiving center used to be open for business long into the wee hours of the morning.

For Mark Davis, a 17-year-old student at Copper Hills High School in West Jordan, spring breakSpring Break in St. George was a definite success.

"I've kissed quite a few girls," said Davis, a tall, dark-haired boy wearing purple and green Mardis Gras beads around his neck. "I didn't know them before this, s. So it's been good."

One boy wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "I lLove Party Girls" printed on the front seemed to be having a hard time getting girls to notice him. Another guy said the boy's trouble stemmed from looking like "a dork."

"The girls this year are very preppy, the cheerleader, drill team kind," said Nester Garcia, who said he was 18 and a student at Dixie State College. "They're looking for the top dog, the kind of guy who drives a Lexus."

Ashlee Cannon, 16, and Brandi Bulloch, 15, had the good sense to wear a warm jacket Saturday night at they sat with friends nibbling at Iceberg's frozen treats.

"At least it's not snowing down here, like it was at home," said Cannon, who attends Cedar High School. "It was more crowded last year, but it's still fun hanging out and meeting new people."

E-MAIL: nperkins@desnews.com