Beautification department gearing up for holidays;
season will kick off Saturday with Harvest Day

They're out there year round. Every day, you can see members of the Headland Beautification Department working in or around the square or other areas of the city. But, as the days begin to get shorter, the work takes on a new urgency. Just around the corner is... holiday season!

With only a few days until Harvest Day, Beautification Superintendent Joyce Simmons' crew is hitting the ground running early each morning. Borrowing a line from "Smoky And The Bandit":  They've got a long way to go... and a short time to get there.

"From usually around the end of March/middle of April, until after Christmas, we're pretty busy," said Ms. Simmons Monday. "We've been shoveling dirt all day. The guys are out there cleaning curbs. I want everything clean and looking good. We've done pretty much everything we've got to do for right now." But Thursday, that'll change. They'll be hanging drop cords from poles so booths will have power. Friday, the stage will go up, along with "whatever else anybody needs."

Harvest Day won't officially begin until 9 a.m. Saturday, but Ms. Simmons and her workers will be there at six. And they'll be there until "everything is clean and gone."

Halloween Scream, though a great evening, won't put as much pressure on the department. "It's not as big," she said. And there is another Sundown Cinema scheduled for the square, which will involve another clean-up.
Then... there's Christmas. "We'll start putting the Christmas decorations up early in November, because it is just such an effort," Ms. Simmons said. The tree, however, won't come on until later. In the past few years, students from Headland Elementary School have decorated the tree, and plans call for the same effort this year.
The tree lighting will have an evening of its own, after which the department will have everything cleaned up and squared away before leaving. White and colored lights alternate yearly, with this year headed toward multi-colored tree lights. "I try to switch it up, so it'll look different," Ms. Simmons said.

Rounding out the year will be the city's annual Christmas parade. "The work with the parade is mostly cleanup. We'll stay until everything is clean. I don't like to leave the square in a mess. And I don't think it should look messy all weekend."

So, in passing members of the city's beautification department in your travels around the city, take a minute before throwing out those cups, wrappers and other things. They're doing their part to keep Headland clean. Doing your part will put you in some good, conscientious, hard-working company.