For many, spring break is the magical time when studying and tests give way to neon-colored YOLO tank tops, chugging rum from an ice luge, and sexual promiscuity. You know, just like the Greek Gods always wanted.
Seriously, the tradition is 2,000 years old and comprised of, essentially, the same elements.
Called "Anthestreria" by the local teens, and their parents, it was a festival dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine and whoopee and just about every excuse to party. For three days, people would dance, singers would perform, women would deck themselves with flowers, and Greek men would compete to see who could be the fastest to drain a cup of red wine.
But, while tradition holds—and nearly half a million college students make the religious pilgrimage down to Panama City—it turns out that spring break isn't all that much of an economic stimulus for the towns that play host. The Atlantic takes a look at an economic study that indicates that spring break is only good for starting the tourist season off a little early and seeing a huge increase in non-vehicle citations.
"More crime than tax receipts" would be the five-word summary of the Panama City experience, as painted by Laurie's research. America's most famous spring break city is hardly an outlier. "The overall trend between cities regarding both average business sales tax and average hotel tax is that during Spring Break, [Florida, Arizona, and Texas] counties show low levels of sales tax collected," Laurie concluded. "In fact, the month of March is very poor for all three counties."