MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Residents in Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe have shared a New Year’s celebration together for years now, ringing in the new year twice in two different time zones.
Now the beloved yearly tradition will be canceled for the 2nd year in a row due to damage caused by Hurricane Michael.
Residents in those areas are still hopeful that they will celebrate again one day.
Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach residents have always shared a special New Year’s Eve celebration.
People were able to go to Gulf County and celebrated at midnight, then catch a bus and travel to Mexico Beach and celebrate again in the central time zone an hour later.
But this year, that celebration is being put on hold.
Mayor of Mexico Beach, Al Cathey says this is the second year now that they will not be putting on this celebration, as no businesses were open after Hurricane Michael last year.
“You know the storm has left us crippled. We don’t dwell on that but new Years is one of those times where you can help to think about what used to be. Because we had such a great time. And to be able to celebrate twice with the timeline, that was pretty cool,” said Mayor Cathey.
Cathey reflects on how last year’s New Year’s Eve felt.
“Solemn. That was just a few months after the storm and our town was not ready for new years. And were more ready now, it just we don’t have any businesses open to celebrate New Years,” said Mayor Cathey.
Toucans, Rustic Sands, and the El Governor Motel lounge were some of the hot spots for the New Year celebration.
“We had almost 5 or 6 places you could go and enjoy, catch a bus enjoy and go to another one. All those are gone,” said Mayor Cathey.
He says he is optimistic they will be able to celebrate someday in the future.
“We’re gonna have to remember what we’ll have again. This year for New Years is just a time to reflect more than anything else and not get caught up with poor me. Better days are ahead for Mexico Beach.”