People and pups take over Legion Park

Paws Par 6.2.2018
Paws Par 6.2.2018

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A dog named Pepper catches a Frisbee, which was thrown to her by a trainer during a demonstration at Legion Park in Hollidaysburg on Saturday.

Mirror photo by Sean Sauro

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Dog enthusiasts and fairgoers spent Saturday under the sun at Legion Park.

But what was supposed to be a two-day event was cut short Sunday when dark skies produced rain that soaked the park and most of Blair County for nearly the entire day.

Paws in the Park was one of two Central Pennsylvania Humane Society events to suffer from the inclement weather.

“It’s very sad,” said Becky Felton, the society’s outreach and development director.

A group of motorcyclists was scheduled to depart Sunday morning from Roundhouse Harley Davidson in Duncansville for the 18th annual Bikers for Barkers charity motorcycle run.

On Saturday, Tamsen Nuss, who chairs the event, spoke about the run while watching a dog complete a skills course at Legion Park.

Nuss said Humane Society officials had hoped to raise $25,000 with the planned 124-mile motorcycle run that would culminate with a celebration at the park.

“There is no federal or state funding awarded to the Humane Society,” Nuss said, pointing out the importance of fundraising events that enable the society to complete its mission.

On Sunday morning, though, Nuss and a small group of Humane Society volunteers stood on a covered patio at Roundhouse Harley Davidson as rain fell from the sky, soaking an adjacent parking lot.

Local emergency response authorities had determined that weather conditions were unsafe for the motorcycle run to continue, so the event was canceled, she said.

However, Nuss also made sure to announce that the run likely would be rescheduled.

The fate of Paws in the Park was the same. Felton spoke Sunday to confirm that the second day of the event also was canceled.

“It’ll all just have to come down to how yesterday went,” she said on Sunday.

Sunny, blue skies and temperatures in the 80s helped to attract a good crowd on Saturday.

Early Saturday afternoon, more than a hundred people roamed the park, browsing vendor booths and taking in exhibitions during the pet-friendly event.

Among them was Michele Sanders of Altoona, who was in attendance with her dogs Milo, 9, and Sammy, 7.

Sanders, a dog-lover, said she had planned to take in all of the event’s offerings.

“I thought, ‘We’ll make it a day for the dogs,’” she said. “I love anything pet-friendly.”

The biggest attraction at the park was a showing of skill by Disc-Connected K9s, a group billed as “world famous Frisbee dogs.”

During the presentation, a trainer threw white Frisbees into the air, and the dogs would run and jump to catch them in creative ways.

Dave Lupettie, an event volunteer, said visiting pets often enjoy the Frisbee show as much as their owners.

“The dogs would sit there and watch it as much as the humans would,” he said.

Early Saturday afternoon, Lupettie said he was pleased with the crowd that gathered at the park, calling it “the best turn out this early,” in the event’s history.

The most popular attractions, he said, were the Frisbee show, as well as an inflatable water slide for children.

At that time, Lupettie remained confident that the fundraising goal could be met.

“If this goes off as planned, I think it is doable,” he said.

While final figures weren’t available Sunday afternoon, Felton said she hoped the weekend events were able to raise $20,000 out of the expected $50,000.

Nuss said there will be a chance to raise additional funds when the motorcylce run is rescheduled.

“We are going to try to reschedule for August,” she said.



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