Big cleanup at Jacksonville Beach after Beaches Freedom Festival

904 Happy Hour hosts cleanup after annual event


JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville Beach was looking extra clean Sunday after a group of people took to the sand and picked up trash.

On Saturday, 904 Happy Hour held its Beaches Freedom Fest, and the day after the event, the group hosts a beach cleanup.

"If we can leave the event space cleaner than when we got it, it's a plus," said Charles Wagoner, the festival producer for 904 Happy Hour.

Wagoner is in charge of Beaches Freedom Fest. He said on Sunday morning, about 75 people combed Jacksonville Beach picking up what was left behind from the annual festival, which honors veterans.

"When we started doing these festivals a few years ago, we noticed the areas around the event. There was litter and not just from our festival-goers, but just people coming to the beach," Wagoner said. "We found a need to start doing more to help cleanup. We have beautiful beaches here in Jacksonville and we want to keep them that way.

The most common trash items found on the beach were cigarette butts, food wrappers and plastic bottle caps. All of these items can be detrimental to beach wildlife and were scattered in the sand where children play.

"I think it's just laziness," Wagoner said. "We want to preserve our beaches for years to come, and we want visitors to come here and like our beaches and come back, maybe move here."

There are trash cans along the beach access points at Jacksonville Beach, so visitors can use those bins before going home.

After Beaches Oktoberfest, 904 Happy Hour will hold another cleanup. It also plans to clean the Riverwalk after a new event, the Bold City Beer Festival in Riverside.

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