LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A sea of 164, 906 Kentucky Derby fans, give or take a few – their merriment, a beautiful sight to behold. The mess they left behind, not so much.
As tradition dictates, the cleanup was handled mostly by students raising money for different teams, clubs and activities.
“Negative amounts of fun. It’s so bad, I’m delirious,” Atherton High School student Allegra Schikler said.
Students say it’s worth it in the end.
“Everyone just throws all their bottles on the ground, there’s glass everywhere,” Madison Williams, a DuPont Manual student said.
Many of the students who participated in the event were veterans of the post-race day cleaning crews. They say they’re usually able to get the turnaround from Oaks to Derby in about three hours.
Cleaning up after Derby is always an entirely different beast. On the Sunday after, the near record attendance was pretty obvious.
The students come across all manner of bizarre items including a new way to sneak alcohol onto the property.
“They’re like little tubes that you put alcohol in and they’re disguised as tampon holders,” Schikler said.
Observing the sea of waste race goers littered about, there were items found that probably weren’t meant to be left behind.
In Churchill Downs’ Lost and Found, there were pages and pages cataloguing lost items and drawers filled with belonging tagged and bagged to be returned if the owner can be tracked down.
Usual items typically found are car keys, sunglasses and cellular phones.
Head of security Robert King says sometimes it’s just weird.
“We’ve had dentures turned into us,” King said.
A big screen television was found on Sunday and no one has any idea where it came from. King says it’s not unusual for purses and wallets full of cash and expensive jewelry as well as electronics to be turned in.
“It really does restore your faith in people – that’s how they found it, that’s how they brought it in. That’s how we try to get it back to the rightful owners,” King said.
As cleanup continues, they expect to soon be working overtime.