Second Annual Animal House Beach Clean-Up


The second annual Animal House Beach Clean-up took place on June 1, with over 75 participants partnering with Animal House, Unsalted No Sharks and Pura Vida to clean up ten popular spots in the Iowa Great Lakes area.

The locations included five different beaches in the Okoboji area, including Arnolds Park Public Beach, Arnolds Park Amusement Park Beach, Pikes Point, Terrance Park Beach, and Emerson Bay Beach. Other spots participants helped clean up were the area by The Ritz, Sawmill Park and Minnewashta Campgrounds, Upper Gar Boat Ramp and Trigg’s Bridge, Pillsbury Point, and East Lake Park.

“Our goal in this event is to create a conscious movement for clean water everywhere, especially at the Iowa Great Lakes. It isn’t just one day, but it’s every day that we need to do our part to pick up garbage,” said Steve Strom, Animal House owner. “We want to keep our beautiful Okoboji waters clean for generations to come and why I want my boys to help with this effort.”

Joan Kessler came from San Diego, CA, the Pura Vida representative, to help sponsor the event. A special Pura Vida bracelet was exclusively created for the day and other merchandise was available to participants after they returned garbage bags.

“We have had a great relationship with Animal House for over a decade and really support them and this community,” Kessler added. “We want to help keep this place beautiful!”

People of all ages came to help from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 1. Families registered and then picked locations to clean up, while young adult groups went throughout the Iowa Great Lakes with their garbage bags and gloves. Several older individuals donated towards local conservation efforts, while others brought their grandchildren.

Christy Register was visiting from Alabama and brought her granddaughter, who lives in the area. “This was such a fun activity and I loved doing it with my granddaughter. I love coming here to visit and I want to keep this area beautiful for people like me who visit and for my grandchildren who live here,” she shared.

Scott Bradham brought his daughter, and they took trash bags to Terrance Park Beach. He found it a valuable father-daughter activity but also a way to educate her about taking care of the earth. “Any way we can help the community keep our lakes clean is valuable, as well as any time you can get daddy-daughter one-on-one time,” he said.

The theme heard among several participants was not relying on other people to pick up garbage or say someone else will clean it up.

Ava Lippon brought two girls she was babysitting and walked with them along the beach. The young girls loved picking up garbage, while playing in the sand. A senior at Okoboji High School next year, she said, “This is my area. We should want to keep it clean not only because we live here, but we want to keep it nice for a long time.”

Stay Properties employees took time out of their cleaning schedule to clean up several areas. Sheri Jones had some of her staff focus on the Arnolds Park Public Beach, and they picked up garbage but also debris left from the winter.

“So many of our guests use this beach and we want to keep it nice for them but also for everyone who visits,” she said.

Strom was thankful for the participation they received this year and looks forward to branching out in future years.

“With it being our second annual event, my goal was to increase awareness and participation, and we did both. It takes effort to take time out of your day to keep our area beautiful and why I love how this event has come together,” he said. “Every year, I hope more people come and more businesses join our efforts.”

His goal is to host the Beach Clean-up every year on June 1, but also desires to increase awareness for Keeping Okoboji Blue by holding monthly clean-up events in future years.

Mark it on your calendar – June 1, 2024!