A day with a questionable forecast ended up to be a success for the Owego Dog Owners Group (ODOG) last Saturday as they were host to the first annual “Dog Daze of Summer” fundraising event, held at the bandshell at Hickories Park in Owego, N.Y.
The morning started with a motorcycle run that was organized by Kevin Salter of Owego, N.Y., and owner of Salter’s Cycle Service. And although the forecast reflected a slight chance of rain, which kept some of the riders home, close to two-dozen braved the weather and raised much needed funds that will benefit The Rebecca Weitsman Memorial Dog Park and the Owego Police Department’s K-9, Maggie.
Sponsored by Adam Weitsman and Upstate Shredding, and Buddy and Lucy Bunnell, the event welcomed the return of the riders at approximately 1:30 p.m., and as the music was well underway.
The emcee for the show was Nick Ruffo, son of well-known country and outlaw artist Tim Ruffo. Nick entertained guests with his free-style rap and his entertaining lyrics, like “Ice Cold Beef.” His mother, Mary Ann Ruffo, recorded several of the performances on her YouTube Channel, Live Music of the 607.
Nick also thanked the many sponsors and supporters of the event throughout the day.
Performing first was Josh Schecter of Candor, N.Y. with a solo show. Schecter entertained guests with several Dave Matthews songs that even had the dogs in attendance barking for more.
Following Schecter was Southern Tier favorite The Gents, who, in line with their website’s motto, put the Class in Classic Rock for last Saturday’s event – playing tunes ranging from The Doors, to classic hits by Asia. A crowd pleaser, The Gents, with members Sid Peake, Dan Almy, David Cook and Mark Lawrence hit the stage prior to a performance by Jeff Howell’s Boogie du Jour.
For Jeff Howell’s Boogie du Jour, Howell, the band’s founder, has played with national touring acts like Foghat, The Outlaws and Savoy Brown, and even recorded several records with The Outlaws. Now touring mainly on the East Coast and collaborating with other bands along the way, Howell returned to Owego for last Saturday’s crowd-pleasing and final performance. Rounding out Jeff Howell’s Boogie du Jour is Greg Meisner, Richie Roccisano, and Don Pharaoh.
For the much-needed fundraising, individuals raffled off baskets from area businesses, and donations. Janet Bunnell, artist with Gallery 41 in Owego, collected items made by local artists to sell, with proceeds benefiting the dog park, and K-9 Maggie.
The bandshell at Hickories Park served as a great location for last Saturday’s event, and was reminiscent of the Hickory Smoked Blues festivals held there at one time through the Arts Council.
The Town of Owego was more than happy to allow the organizers to host the event there, and the large numbers of volunteers at the event kept things going smoothly throughout the day. Committee members for the event included Janet Bunnell, Krissie Petticrew, Kevin Salter, and this writer. Barb Fullmer, Donna Day, Officer Andrew Pike, Scott Vasisko from the Town of Owego, Scott Armstrong, and Kody Thornton also assisted with the event.
Small Town Party Tents, found at www.smalltownpartytents.com, provided the tents and some of the tables and chairs for the event and Kevin Kober provided sound.
Donating to the event was Tops Markets, Johnny Ps Mobile Eats, Ruby Blues, Tonic, Briezy Designs, Artifex Tattoos by Chip Beam, crafter Melissa Ricklefs, Riveredge Kennels, the Behavior Barn at Day Hollow Animal Hospital, Janet Bunnell, Pat Sweet, Owego Hemp, Tender Loving Care by Maureen’s, Lisa McQueeney, Lauren McCarthy, and Keith Johnson.
Donating to the ODOG store set up at the venue was Author Peter Gordon, Authors Frank Aloi and Blair Kenny, Lauren McCarthy, Rusty and Jewel, Riverstone Gallery, Donna Fitzpatrick, Michelle McLaren, Madsenarts, Pat Stacconi, Carol Sunderwirth, Rebecca Smith, Janet Bunnell, and Nadine Boncek.
The Rebecca Weitsman Memorial Dog Park is located in Hickories Park, and is maintained through the Owego Dog Owners Group. Although located on municipal property, the construction of the park, funded by Adam Weitsman and in memory of his sister, came with an agreement that ODOG would maintain things. Volunteers are always needed, and the board is always looking for new members.
To learn more about the Owego Dog Owners Group, you can find them on Facebook or email to email@example.com. You can also visit the park. A workday is being planned to paint and take care of other needs at the park, and repairs to damaged fencing will soon be underway. The storms experienced this summer were not very kind to the park, and the recent fundraiser offered a boost to the clean up efforts.
The other portion of funds raised last Saturday will benefit the Owego Police Department’s K-9, Maggie. As part of the Homeless to Hero program, Maggie received a new “leash” on life when she found herself a home with the police force in Owego.
Her handler, Officer Andrew Pike, was at the event throughout the day with K-9 demonstrations, and with an added opportunity of letting the guests in attendance meet the local dog that made the national news with her story.
Dog lovers were out last Saturday, with everyone leashed and getting along during ODOG’s first annual event. If you missed the event and you would still like to help out, you can send a payment to firstname.lastname@example.org through PayPal, or stop by the park.