By Jim Tortolano
The big event on the civic calendar for Huntington Beach each year is the Fourth of July Parade, as bands, floats, cars and patriotic music course down the city’s Main Street, as they have for more than a century.
But there’s another procession planned for the city’s downtown in October, which will combine humor, environmentalism and hopes of new economic vitality. Get ready for the “Dumpsters On Parade.”
Yes, on Saturday, Oct. 7, you can see civic leaders – including members of the city council, along with other top officials – pushing 30 wheeled trash bins toward the pier as the culmination of an event bringing together art and community activism. The dumpsters will be decorated with colorful designs to help beautify the city’s original central business district north of the municipal pier at Main and Pacific Coast Highway.
“There is a lot of significance to this,” said Councilman Patrick Brenden, while watching members of the Huntington Beach Public Art Alliance daub paint onto the sides of nearly three-dozen bins in the Republic Services waste and recycling center on Nichols Avenue this past weekend.
“This is part of a mission to create a better vibe for downtown. A lot of merchants down there have been hurt from the negative impact they’ve felt from Pacific City,” he said, referring to a trendy upscale dining and shopping development south of downtown. “We have to give something that will bolster the Main Street business district. Give people a new feeling about downtown. Something that’s exciting to go to and look at.
“For a lot of the merchants downtown,” he added, “the problem is getting locals. We have lots of tourist traffic, but as soon as the tourists go home for the summer, then it gets really tough. This is a project that will help bring locals back to Main Street.”
The organization doing the painting is the HBPAA, led by Kim Kramer and Barbara Haynes. “In all of my community work, I’ve never seen a project that has more public or city support than this one,” said Kramer. “Everyone seems to like or love the concept of using a trash dumpster as a canvas.”
The final 30 designs were chosen from among 150 designs, with over 4500 people voting for their favorites on Facebook.
On Oct. 7, the first three blocks of Main Street will be closed for the “Dumpsters on Parade,” which is set to start at 10 a.m. The dumpsters will go on display at the pier the next day (Sunday, Oct. 8), then go into service as trash receptacles the following Monday.
“We’re covering these with six coats of an anti-graffiti clear coat, which is not only anti-graffiti,” said Kramer, 67, “but also anti-UV [ultra-violet rays].” Additionally it will help resist the effects of ocean mist and urban pollutants.
Kramer himself vows to be the man who gets rid of the graffiti. “They’ll call me and I’m going to go over there. I’ve got a special solution and I’m gonna go spritz-spritz-spritz, wipe-wipe-wipe, and it’s off.” Similar safeguards were employed in an earlier HBPAA project which beautified utility boxes.
Lauding Kramer and Haynes, Brenden said “I was amazed at the commitment they bring to this. I hope it inspires other people to do things. I think projects like this, when they come from private citizens, are so much better because it’s not on the backs of taxpayers and the generosity of the community comes forward. It’s infectious.”
Categories: Huntington Beach