Trashfinder's Ball celebrates refuse pickingBy MAC CERULLO , Associated Press
May. 4, 2013 12:22 AM ET
NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) — They say one man's trash is another man's treasure, though it's not often that you see it celebrated as such.
That's an attitude Sean Devlin wanted to change. So five years ago, he created The Trashfinder's Ball as a way for local trash pickers to come together and celebrate their best trash finds while raising money for a good cause.
"Trash pickers are underappreciated by their spouses; they come home with a trash find and they're like 'What the hell is this, get it out of here,'" Devlin said. "So the ball provides an opportunity for the trash pickers to show off their most prized find."
Devlin is a stay-at-home dad from Beverly, and he took up trash picking as a hobby a number of years ago to keep him entertained. He usually goes out the day before trash day and looks for things around his neighborhood; among his best finds are several old license plates, including one that is more than 100 years old.
At some point, the idea for the ball popped into his head and before long, it blossomed into a one-of-a-kind trash-picker bonanza. Today, the ball features a trash find competition, a "trashion" show, junk food, and a live performance by the "Found Objects."
The ball was originally held in Beverly, but as time went on, Devlin decided to take it on the road. Last week, it traveled to Portsmouth, N.H., and on April 13, the ball will come to Newburyport. It will be held at The Elks Hall at 25 Low St. starting at 7 p.m.; admission costs $10 at the door.
Devlin said the primary focus of the event is the trash-finding competition, which he said integrates the participants with the entertainment and creates a "democratic art form where everyone is a participant."
"The judges pick five finalists, and (they) will come up with a trash find, and they'll get interviewed on the trash find," Devlin said. "The story behind the trash find is as interesting as the trash find itself, and from there, the judges reconvene, they pick the winner, they hand an envelope to the emcee, the emcee calls the winner."
Once the winner is picked, they are escorted to a purple throne and given flowers and a trophy made out of trash. That person then becomes the King of the Trashfinder's Ball, and everyone sings to them.
"It's really over the top, but it's fun, and the stories that come out of the trash finds are hysterical," Devlin said.
A portion of the proceeds raised from the ball will benefit Change is Simple, a nonprofit in Beverly dedicated to promoting environmental and social responsibility in local communities through sustainability enrichment programs.