Volunteers outside of Keep Nebraska City Beautiful lOffice
Pictured are, from left, Jaclyn Krefels, Patty Coates, Sue Little and Connie Ehlers outside the Keep Nebraska City Beautiful office. Volunteers collected safety vests, trash grabbers at water bottles at the KNCB office on Sept. 11. Photo by Sarah Merza/NNS

Nebraska City residents cleaned up litter at the city’s entrances on Saturday, Sept. 11, to prepare for the annual AppleJack Festival.

The 53rd annual AppleJack Festival begins Friday, Sept. 18, in Nebraska City. The festival is expected to bring between 60,000 and 80,000 people to the community of 7,292 residents.

The Keep Nebraska City Beautiful program organizes an annual volunteer cleanup crew to clean up litter near the city’s entrances.

“We have so many people that come into town for AppleJack, and what a good impression it makes when everything is clean and makes you want to come back year after year,” said Connie Ehlers, a Keep Nebraska City Beautiful board member.

Twenty-seven volunteers participated in the cleanup event on Sept. 11, including residents from the Mission Field Treatment Center, students from the Lourdes Central Student Council, and families from the community. Volunteers covered six sites around the city. On Sunday, Sept. 12, four girls from Girl Scout Troop 20572 cleaned up litter around the city.

“Usually a lot of people turn out to help clean up. People get pulled a lot in different ways, lately, but they still want to see the town look pretty,” said Patty Coates, the KNCB board president.

According to the executive director of Keep Nebraska City Beautiful, Sally DuBois, the highway North 75 entrance into Nebraska City has the worst issues with litter. This is also one of the busiest entrances for the festivals, Coates said.

VolunteersPickUpLitter 1024x768 - Community volunteers prepare for AppleJack Festival
From left, Sue Little, Jaclyn Krefels and Sarah Hobbie clean up litter along the highway North 75 entrance into Nebraska City. (Photo by Sarah Merza/NNS)

After the festival, trash clean-up is focused around Central Avenue. The local Boy Scouts troop goes out after the parade in order to pick up any trash left on the street.

On top of just picking up trash, the KNBC is working on educating the younger generation in order to combat the issue of litter.

“If we can teach them young not to throw their garbage out the window, maybe in 20 years we won’t even need to be doing this,” DuBois said.

According to DuBois, the mission of KNCB is to educate people on recycling, beautification and litter pickup. DuBois is working with the local high school student council to educate students on the issues of litter.

Litter clean-up and prevention goes beyond just making the city look nice.

“When you have a clean town, and people come from other cities and see how clean your town is, it’s attractive to them and they might want to move here. They might want to move their business here,” Coates said. “You know, it’s good for the economy. It’s good for Nebraska City as a whole to have a clean town that is attractive to other people, and maybe the population will start growing again.”

Journalism and Advertising/Public Relations double major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating Dec 2021