Jimmy Buffett Presses on with “Margaritaville,” Despite Oil on the Shore

The timing might be off for tourists hoping to waste away in Margaritaville, but that won't stop Jimmy Buffett from opening a 162-room hotel next week in Pensacola Beach, Florida. 

As tar balls reached the shores on 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

The singer's tunes are as much a part of life in Pensacola as fried grouper sandwiches, Land Shark beer and the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels.

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.

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.

The singer said the point of his songs are for, "helping people forget their troubles for a couple of hours," the "Cheeseburger in Paradise."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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