Locals are getting geared up for the next Red River Cleanup, which is set for November 5.

Lisa Willard is one of the organizers of the beautification event. She told me that even with the downpour we experienced during last year's event, over 350 volunteers still managed to make it out to help pick up trash along the river.

"If that rain wouldn't have been as bad as it was, I think we probably would have had about 600 people come out," Willard said. "Scout troops, some Air Force Base members, they had large groups that were coming out that canceled before because of the weather."

Willard said this year, as long as the weather is cooperative, she's expecting between 500 and 600 volunteers. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. on November 5 under the pavilion at Stoner Boat Launch. Participants will get a wristband, a backpack with supplies in it and a trash picker.

Volunteers will be separated into three groups. Some will walk and pick up trash along the riverbank. Others will ride in a boat up and down the river, and they'll be dropped off in areas that have been identified as ones most in needs of cleaning. Yet another group will take a shuttle bus, which drops volunteeers off at designated areas along the river.

Willard said yes, this is community service and beautification for the Shreveport-Bossier City area, but she also wants to focus on the fun aspects of it. One of the highlights of the event is the "crazy trash find" contest.

"If you find anything unusual or crazy, make sure you bring it back to the pavilion, and we have a little check-in station," she said. "And what we do is we take their number down, their name and their email address. They don't have to be present to win."

A team of voters will look at all the crazy items and decide which ones win prizes. Last year, Keith Nale, a local firefighter who was featured on the TV show 'Survivor' twice, created an immunity idol and hid it. The Barksdale airman who found it ended up winning a kayak that had been donated for the event.

Last year, more than 12,000 pounds of trash was picked up along the river, including close to 100 tires that were illegally dumped near Ford Street.

A meeting to discuss this year's cleanup event is set for this week. It'll be held Friday, September 2, at 6 p.m. at Rotolo's Pizzeria on 70th Street in Shreveport.