TRAVERSE CITY — Volunteers in red T-shirts combed the beaches around the Open Space early today to collect food wrappers, empty beer cans and other trash left behind by weekend festival-goers.
Grand Traverse County Emergency Management Coordinator Gregg Bird estimated more than a half-million people descended on downtown Traverse City for July 4 celebrations and the National Cherry Festival's opening weekend.
They took in the fireworks, marveled at the U.S. Navy Blue Angels — and left their trash.
"People were here to have fun, and when you have a party you have to clean up. That's what the Cherry Festival volunteers did," said Trevor Tkach, National Cherry Festival Executive Director.
Daily trash collection is a joint effort between Cherry Festival volunteers, the city of Traverse City and Bay Area Recycling for Charities. Volunteers start first thing in the morning with a beach clean up and work throughout the day picking up trash, emptying waste receptacles and sorting recycling and compost, Tkach said.
"It's our dedicated volunteers who are putting in hours and hours to make sure that the beaches are clean and ready for the next day," Tkach said. "There's a lot of pride among the volunteers."
See Tuesday's Record-Eagle for more on this story.