On a rainy Saturday, Joyce Woolsey swept underneath park benches and picked up debris on the grass. She and her husband Milton have been cleaning parts of the city since early Saturday morning as a part of the Great American Cleanup.
"We love a clean environment and our community,” said Milton Woolsey, who cleaned near Cottonwood and Planz Roads with about 800 volunteers. “It would be a shame if we just do a cleanup around a neighborhood and then leave a dirty park."
And they weren't the only ones doing some serious spring cleaning. Keep Bakersfield Beautiful says thousands of people cleaned 200 locations before meeting at Yokuts Park for a meal.
"We had the illegal dump sites getting cleaned up, about a hundred trees planted and all the flowers going in,” said Jessica Felix, Community Relations Specialist for Keep Bakersfield Beautiful. “These projects last for a while and leave a nice impact on the area."
17’s Kyoshi Tomono emceed the cleanup's award ceremony where several of the event’s sponsors and volunteers were recognized. Dressed in bright orange shirts that said “volunteer,” the participants did not let April showers stop them from sprucing up the town.
"They wanted to give back to their community, it didn't matter whether it was rain or shine,” said Mayor Harvey Hall. “They were going to be here, and that's terrific commitment."
Luwanna Alvidres and her grandkids painted over walls that had graffiti on them. She and her family participated last year, and she was glad to get her little ones involved in the project.
"There's more to do besides staying in the house with the TV and video games,” Alvidres said. “It's good also to recycle, and it's important for them now and for the future."
A group of Bakersfield High School students picked up trash in alleys near Chester Avenue and Fourth Street.
"I think most definitely, we made a difference,” said Manny Tijerina, a graduating senior and ROTC leader at BHS. “The alleys that we went through were bad, and now they're clean."
Gabrielle Hernandez feels she made an impact in her area too. She cleaned along a once-littered Brundage Lane with members of First Congregational Church.
“We saw couches and tires, boards and a whole bunch of garbage and cigarettes," she said.
And she, like the others, didn't mind getting dirty to help Mother Nature look her best.
"I like how the earth now, will be clean," she said.
Organizers say close to 9,000 people registered for the event, and they'll have more city cleanups throughout the year.