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Oceanfront readies for large crowds leading up to Fourth of July

The holiday weekend started off strong on Friday with beautiful weather. Oceanfront businesses are expecting an influx of people through Independence Day.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It didn’t get too packed along the beach and boardwalk on Friday; however, locals and visitors shared their excitement while spending time by the water.

"To get away, take a breather before I start teaching summer school," said Northern Virginia teacher Kisha Hawkins.

“We came to the beach today to hang out with family," said Isidora Nahayo of Omaha, Nebraska. Her family spent Friday celebrating Burundi Independence Day, too. "It’s a couple of our family members’ first time seeing the beach ever.”

Nickie Wheeler, ambassador for the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum, expects huge crowds throughout the weekend. "People, families, lots more kids than we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks now that school’s out. It’s been a really good turnout," she said. 

Some unsettled weather is expected this weekend, but a washout is not expected, according to 13News Now meteorologists

BeachEvents Program Director Mike Hilton said they are monitoring the forecast closely. 

"Our goal is always to do the entertainment, whether that means delaying," he said. 

The free Totally Tribute Music Fest kicked off Friday. More musical acts are lined up Monday night, before the big fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. on July 4.

“Coming off of the pandemic for two years and not being able to do everything we’ve normally done on this holiday weekend, I think everyone’s looking forward to a great fireworks show and beach time," Hilton added. 

On the business front, Dough Boy’s General Manager Ashley Vestal said they are stocked up and staffed up.

“About a month ago, we started preparing for Fourth of July by hiring and training and making sure that everybody was trained fully for high volume," Vestal said. 

Also in anticipation of large crowds this holiday weekend, Virginia Beach police offered the following statement to 13News Now: 

The Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) is aware of multiple special events scheduled for the July 4th holiday weekend. In preparation for large crowds, key areas of Virginia Beach have been upstaffed with officers. These areas include the Oceanfront Resort Area, Chesapeake Beach and Sandbridge and Mount Trashmore. There will be increased visibility and patrols across the entire City of Virginia Beach.

The VBPD reminds citizens to enjoy the weekend festivities responsibly.

Establish a plan to get home before you head out to celebrate. 

    • Decide who will be the Designated Driver ahead of time.
    • Take advantage of the "Do Not Tow" program in City Municipal Lots. Ask any Police Officer or Lot Attendant for a sticker. You can also call 757-385-5600 and request a sticker be brought to you. Be sure to pick up your vehicle between 8:00am and noon the next day.
    • The City of Virginia Beach offer a new free ride program at the oceanfront called Freebee. The vehicles operate seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and are available to everyone

Access a Freebee ride in three easy steps: 

    • Download the Freebee mobile app available on the App Store or on Google Play.
    • Request a ride to your destination.
    • Enjoy your FREE ride!

If you see something, say something.

    • Call 911 for emergencies
    • Call 757-385-5000 for non-emergencies
    • Flag down an Officer working in the area

Remember, all fireworks are illegal in Virginia Beach.

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