Originally an anniversary celebration of the Alum Creek Dog Park, the Pup-A-Palooza, set for Saturday, has grown into a major fundraiser and charity pet food drive.
The free event, hosted by the Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park, the nonprofit and volunteer group responsible for building and maintaining the dog park, offers a number of rescue groups and vendor booths, a silent auction, live music and food, Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park President Ann Wennberg said.
Pup-A-Palooza serves as an important and usually successful fundraiser for the Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park group, which provides funds to improve the park, Wennberg said.
Although the dog park is located inside the state park, the nonprofit raises funds all year in order to keep the park maintained. The $20,000 lights installed are the result of three years of fundraising, so the park remains lit in the evening.
Future fundraising dollars will go toward a new parking lot and picnic shelter where rescue groups can host meet and greet events, presentations could be offered or dog birthday parties could be held, Wennberg said.
The Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park also improve the beach area, pay for dog waste bags and supply water bowls. The 4-acre park first opened in June 2006 and features separate fenced areas and benches for small and large dogs.
While admission is free, donations of pet food are requested to help benefit the animals of Meals on Wheels recipients, Wennberg said.
“Meals on Wheels recipients who can’t leave the house to get their own food, usually can’t get pet food either,” Wennberg said. “So, they share their meal with their pet. The pet gets food it shouldn’t eat, and the person doesn’t get all their nourishment.”
More than 3,000 people and their pets attended last year’s event. This year’s fifth annual Pup-A-Palooza is slated from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the dog park located in Alum Creek State Park, 3993 Hollenback Road, Lewis Center. Cash and checks will be accepted during the event, and credit cards will be taken for silent auction articles.
Dogs are welcome this year, but organizers ask that owners bring their furry friends on a standard leash that doesn’t retract. An ice pile will also be part of the festivities, where the group brings in several tons of ice for the dogs to play in, Wennberg.
A rain date has been set for July 23.