pillow.jpgVolunteers collected more than 200 pillows and 150 trash bags full of feathers in San Francisco in the aftermath of Monday’s Valentine’s Day pillow fight in Justin Herman Plaza.

Over the past two years, the city has shelled out $35,000 in clean-up costs after the fight, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Gloria Chan said.

This year, however, the cost was estimated to be just over $3,500, she said.

Chan said unusually low attendance, which could have been due to bad weather, contributed to the decrease, but Pillows for Puppies spokeswoman Jennifer Small said it was also the work of her 30 volunteers, who left the plaza tidier for city clean-up crews.

Pillows for Puppies is a New York-based organization of concerned community members who collect pillows from pillow fights across the nation for dogs in shelters.

“I’ve done my fair share of pillow fights, and this one was just as wacky and wild as usual,” Small said. “But it didn’t end with the typical four to six inches of feathers left over.

“The enormous reduction in clean-up costs is entirely due to the hard work of my volunteers.”

Chan estimated that about 300 to 600 revelers attended the event down from upwards of 1,000 participants in 2010.

Small, however, said the difference wasn’t that significant.

“The crowd didn’t look much smaller than years prior,” she said.

“And by the time the Department of Public Works arrived, there was almost no mess left.”

Chan said the department has been trying to locate the pillow fight’s organizers for years because a permit is needed to provide portable toilets and security personnel, and to cover clean up costs.

“We don’t want to see the event stopped, but we really want the organizers to come forward and accept responsibility,” Chan said.

Small, however, said she and her volunteers were happy to step in to alleviate clean-up costs for the city.

“We will be back next year, hopefully reducing the cost to zero,” she said.

Small said the 200 pillows recovered from the fight went to Sisters of Mercy, a low-income housing facility, due to difficulty coordinating with local animal shelters.

Kristen Peters, Bay City News

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