How does the city clean up so well after CG Saturday?

Mark Brooky • Aug 22, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Craig of Grand Haven asked, “How does the city get to look like normal again after Coast Guard Saturday? After the hordes have left, I love to walk through the downtown and waterfront on the Sunday after the festival, and am always amazed at how good it looks. Who is responsible for the transformation?”


Cleaning up after the Coast Guard Festival is no easy task. After all, there were tens of thousands of people watching the fireworks on the festival’s second Saturday night, and they leave behind plenty of trash.

But, while most of us have gone home and are fast asleep, city crews and even some volunteers are scouring the downtown and waterfront.

City Manager Pat McGinnis explained that the concept for the big clean-up is “all hands on deck” and “let’s get it cleaned better than last year.” He said every seasonal and full-time city employee is deployed immediately following the fireworks to pick up “every scrap we can see.”

“After the carnival finishes breaking down — and they do an excellent job of cleaning up as much as they can — the attention shifts from the waterfront to downtown,” McGinnis said. “Hoses, sweepers, blowers and brooms are used to collect trash and scrub surfaces. By the time the sun comes up, our city looks pretty good.”

In recent years, many citizen volunteers have chipped in, McGinnis said. Groups of people have been showing up with garbage bags and begin picking up even before the crowds finish dispersing.

“It is truly a team effort, and the credit goes to the whole community — but especially the (Grand Haven) Department of Public Works,” the city manager added.

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