With spring break being just around the corner, it is time for everyone to start choosing where they want to ditch their dignity for the week, and Panama City, Florida is a favorite destination among college students across the US. The inside of a church is just about the last thing anybody wants to see during this time, but that all changes when you come to The Tabernacle. Known to young partiers as the Life Center: a Spiritual Community, The Tabernacle is a nightclub that looks like any other church in the area, but what goes on inside is far from holy.
Currently, The Tabernacle holds events ranging from Sunday Night “Slumber Parties” to “Anything But Clothes” nights, there’s even a weekly “Wet n’ Wild” event held on Wednesdays. Each event has a $20 cover and the promoters of the event, known as Spring Break Amnesia, argues that the fee is simply a donation. The Tabernacle promoters say that they provide a safe place for spring breakers to sober up, even with the slogan of “Night’s you can’t remember with people you won’t forget.” The sheriff of Panama City Beach police force disagrees, and so does Police Chief Drew Whitman.
The Life Center is currently under investigation. Chief Whitman and Sheriff Frank McKeithen say they are working together to try to shut down the operation. McKeithen stated, “They might not sell alcohol, but that doesn’t mean alcohol’s not there. It is drug free, but it doesn’t mean drugs are not there. A lot of the bars on the beach and a lot of the nightclubs are drug free and don’t serve alcohol to certain people and minors, but it’s there, and when you read and you do your homework and do your background, it’s a club.” Currently The Tabernacle is open until 5 a.m. every night. Since The Life Center is also a church, they are exempt from the city ordinance that forces clubs and bars to close at 2 a.m.
Since the investigation started the website for Spring Break Amnesia, springbreakamnesia.com has been edited to include a reminder that there is no alcohol or drugs used on the premises. They also removed any sexually explicit clothing from their store, and renamed some of the weekly events. Such as Sunday’s former “Slumber’s Pajama/Lingerie Party” has now been branded solely “Slumber’s Pajama Party.” The website has also provided more clarification to its nightly party themes, saying specifically that Monday’s “Anything But Clothes” theme is not a nude event.