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Volunteers sweep city streets
Downtown Clean Up 3 es
Zach Nix and Bill Bierbower pick up trash Tuesday afternoon to help with a cleanup in preparation for the Cumming Country Fair & Festival, which opens Thursday. - photo by Emily Saunders

More than 100 volunteers banded together Tuesday afternoon to pick up litter inside the Cumming city limits in preparation for the 14th annual Cumming Country Fair & Festival, which opens today.

Hands on Forsyth and Keep Forsyth County Beautiful organized the event, treating volunteers to free pizza and drinks prior to the cleanup.

Hands on Forsyth volunteer coordinator Kerry Rosewall said volunteers pitched in because "people really do care about the community and they want to help make it cleaner."

Many of those who showed up to help out were from local schools -- like Brian Work, who coaches the North Forsyth High School lacrosse team.

"I want my guys to learn about helping out with the community," Work said. "The community helps them, so giving back to the community is a valuable lesson for them."

North Forsyth lacrosse player Harry Pankow also lent a hand. "I just want to help support this community," he said, adding that he's new to Forsyth County and "likes it a lot here."

A Forsyth Central High School group also came to the event, a student club called "flood" led by faculty advisors Donna Jackson and Rich Lowe.

Emily Sundy, club president and a sophomore at the school, came to show her support.

"We try to find things like this that are fun, but also help out the community," Sundy said, adding that 15 of the club members were in attendance.

While Hands on Forsyth has partnered with Keep Forsyth County Beautiful in the past, this is the first time they've gathered for a roadside cleaning in preparation for the fair.

Rosewall said the event is a part of Hands on Georgia week, a week of statewide volunteer service in answer to Gov. Sonny Perdue's Call to Service.

"This is the first event we've done that's this large with Keep Forsyth Beautiful," Rosewall said. "We've worked well with them in the past."

Getting the city looking good for the upcoming fair is number one on the list for everybody involved, including Keep Forsyth County Beautiful's Kevin Smith.

"The city always does a great job with keeping the street's clean," Smith said, "but we want to help and get them even cleaner."

Rosewall said the timing couldn't be better.

"The fair brings in so many people, and we thought it would be great if downtown looked its absolute best while the fair's going on."