Police said an estimated 2,500 people descended upon downtown Huntington Beach for “Adrian’s Kickback.” Since a guy named Adrian posted about his birthday earlier this week, the hashtag has been viewed more than 220 million times on TikTok, with some people posting about traveling from out of state to attend.
Videos from the gathering showed crowds of young people dancing and running through the streets, climbing on stoplights, lifeguard towers, and police cars and setting off fireworks in an intersection and on the beach.
Police arrested 121 adults and 28 minors on charges including vandalism, curfew violations, and setting off illegal fireworks, the department said, adding that attendees allegedly threw rocks, bottles, and fireworks at officers.
“The majority of the crowd was just focused on having a good time,” Jeryn Anderson, 24, told BuzzFeed News. “We were doing mosh pits, watching people do burnouts, dancing, and running from fireworks.
“It was lit,” Anderson added.
On Saturday, New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz tracked down Adrian himself, who said he first posted about the party Tuesday and also advertised it on Snapchat.
Adrian’s account is now private, and he didn’t immediately respond to BuzzFeed News.
Before Huntington Beach shut the event down Saturday, one TikTok user, @thesyncup, reported that officers were firing paintballs at the crowd. Other videos posted to Twitter appeared to show the same.
According to police, multiple businesses as well as police cars and a lifeguard tower were vandalized.
Some people on social media criticized the police response to the gathering, drawing comparisons to white nationalist and anti-lockdown events that have repeatedly been held in Huntington Beach with less police intervention.
While Saturday night was by far the largest gathering, police said a few hundred people also showed up for the party in Huntington Beach on Friday night.