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Grab your work gloves. Saturday is community cleanup day in Gig Harbor

Employees and managers from Tickled Pink, a retail store in Gig Harbor, work as volunteers during the 2017 Gigging Up the Harbor cleanup event held by the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance
Employees and managers from Tickled Pink, a retail store in Gig Harbor, work as volunteers during the 2017 Gigging Up the Harbor cleanup event held by the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance Courtesy

For the fifth consecutive year, The Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance invites people to participate in Gigging Up the Harbor, a community cleanup to beautify the downtown waterfront May 18.

The alliance asks people to meet at Skansie Brothers Park at 9 a.m., where those who attend will sign a volunteer waiver and get a vest and assignment. Volunteers will disperse into their assigned areas to do yard work until about 12 p.m.

“It has to do with a pride issue,” said Mary DesMarais, executive producer of Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance. “When you walk downtown, you think it looks great. But when you get down on your hands and knees, you realize it’s not as good as you thought it looked. And I think it creates such pride in your community. We have a jewel here, and it’s nice trying to keep that up.”

The alliance asks that attendees bring their own tools, knee pads and water bottles.

“There will be tools available, mostly shovels,” DesMarais said. “For the most part I would bring your own tools.”

Gigging up the Harbor began five years ago during the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. DesMarais said the community knew there would be spillover from the event and wanted to put its best foot forward for all the visitors.

“Everyone enjoyed it so much, we decided to do it every year,” she said.

DesMarais said the enjoyment comes from pride in the community, but also the relationships built between people.

She said many assignments take multiple hands to complete, resulting in people working together and creating friendships.

“I think there is a real camaraderie that’s built,” DesMarais said. “We have people who have never met working as teams in the same location. There’s a big flower bed down by the maritime pier that takes a whole lot of hands. They get a chance to meet people they would’ve never had the chance to meet before.”

Special projects coordinator Josh Sherwin said this is also an opportunity for families to have their children participate in community service, as this event has no age limit.

Quite a few families participate,” Sherwin said. “Parents bring the kids down and give them an opportunity to make a difference.”

Local businesses and restaurants will provide a volunteer-appreciation lunch in the park following the cleanup.

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