Jimmy Buffett to launch Margaritaville Hotel on Pensacola Beach despite oil spill
Pensacola Beach will welcome the opening of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Hotel next week. Buffett said the oil spill will not delay the opening.
Pensacola Beach — The timing might be a bit off for tourists hoping to waste away in Margaritaville. But that doesn't bother Jimmy Buffett.
The singer — whose tunes are as much a part of life in this beach town as fried grouper sandwiches, Land Shark beer and the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels — is planning to open a 162-room Margaritaville Hotel in a week.
As tar balls came ashore Saturday from an oil plume shooting out of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, Buffett said he had no plans to delay the opening.
"This will pass," he said as walked along the city's beachfront and fishing pier with Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist.
Curious beachgoers mobbed the duo in a frenzy rarely seen on the normally laid-back beach, snapping cell phone pictures and laughing as Crist and Buffett spent about an hour doing interviews and talking.
Buffett told fans he often went to Pensacola Beach while growing up nearby in Alabama. He said his favorite memories are of sunsets in the fall. He joked that he also enjoys the sunrises — but usually sleeps through them.
Buffet said the community will get through the crisis by pulling together. He wants people in the area to know that he's there for them as the oil encroaches on their leisure and livelihoods.
If Buffett's good for anything, it's "helping people forget their troubles for a couple of hours," the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" singer said.
Buffett's $50 million hotel sits on the Gulf near the main section of Pensacola Beach. Hundreds of applicants lined up outside this week for a job fair even as television trucks filled a nearby parking lot to report on the oil slick's arrival.
The hotel sits on land where Hurricane Ivan destroyed a previous hotel in 2004.