A little over a week has passed since thousands of people flocked to the downtown corridor in Santa Barbara to celebrate Old Spanish Days, and the sidewalks on State Street are still undergoing rigorous cleaning.
Downtown Santa Barbara is contracted by the city to do maintenance, cleaning and landscaping in the downtown area. During Fiesta, a separate cleaning service is hired in an effort to quickly remove debris and confetti from the sidewalks and streets.
This year, Old Spanish Days hired Big Green Cleaning Company and crews were out each night during the annual celebration with leaf blowers clearing off the sidewalks.
Due to the large number of vendors and foot traffic, Downtown Santa Barbara suspends its power washing services during the festival. A week after the event, cleaning crews roam the sidewalks using giant vacuums, known as Billy Goat vacuums, in an effort to suck up all the confetti and debris before it enters the city’s storm drains and ultimately gets filtered into the ocean.
“After the vendors leave it’s just a big sea of confetti,” said Kate Schwab, marketing and commutations director for Downtown Santa Barbara. “We don’t want to use water right away because then all of the confetti would fall into the storm drains.”
Power washing resumed late last week, though a part on the power washer was broken. The part was fixed and the power washing continued Wednesday morning, Ms. Schwab said.
Workers power wash the sidewalks around 5 a.m. each morning, working for a few hours before people begin to roam the streets. It can take up to two weeks to power wash the entire area, from the Hotel Californian to Micheltorena Street, she said.
A few businesses have reached out to the organization in recent days, but Carrie Kelly, executive director of the organization, told the News-Press they had not received any formal complaints – rather just inquiries about the cleanup process.
Downtown Santa Barbara has looked into obtaining another power washer from Ventura to be able to expedite the cleaning efforts, Ms. Kelly said.
In September, workers will begin cleaning out the flower beds, removing the remaining confetti and adding new mulch.