After more than a half-century of Easter day surfing, the 52-year-old Easter Surf Festival
in Cocoa Beach, Florida, has been canceled due to budget restraints.
In 2015, the famous surfing competition was moved from the pier to a larger park nearby to provide more parking and vendor area, but now that move is causing cost concerns that have ultimately shuttered one of the oldest surfing festivals in the nation.
In an interview with Florida Today
, event organizer John Griffin explained, “When you go to a high-profile park like Lori Wilson Park, there are city charges, county charges, a whole smorgasbord of charges. You've got to meet the budget or you can't do it."
The festival, which is known as the second-oldest surfing event on the East Coast of the United States, has gone through numerous changes over the years, including the addition of dog surfing and a skating competition.
At one point the festival was pulling in over 100,000 people, but with increasing costs and declines in popularity in recent years, the festival has taken a year off. The Brevard County's Tourist Development Council
denied requests to help finance the festival despite the historical and economic impact of it. In the Florida Today interview, event organizer Griffin was critical of the Tourist Development Council’s decision not to support the surf festival, saying that the Council “needs to wake up.”
Despite not having an Easter Surf Fest this year, Griffin seems optimistic that the festival will return in some form in the future.