The Fort Oglethorpe Bark City Dog Park Committee and North Georgia Animal Alliance held a joint fall festival and dog parade and costume contest — Howl-o-ween — on Saturday, Oct. 27, and they plan to do it again next year.
Seventeen local dogs strutted their stuff on the Northwest Geor- gia Amphitheater grounds, most of them dressed for the occasion as everything from pumpkins to Eeyore, bats, mummies and fairies.
Prizes were awarded for several categories, including dog/owner look-alike and most original and funniest costumes.
The event also featured several cake walks, craft and food vendors, a fire truck from the Fort Oglethorpe Fire Department and games and treats. David Betty, Fort Oglethorpe Councilwoman Rhonda James’ husband, wandered the grounds dressed as a friendly dog, greeting guests and adding to the festive atmosphere, and NGAA volunteer Danielle Townsend played the part of a fairy cat, doing live Facebook feeds.
The purpose of Howl-o-ween was multifaceted.
NGAA president Jillian Alexander-hollis and volunteer Dave Mayo appeared on “Good Morning Chattanooga” the morning of the event to let people know about it and to show a dog the group has been trying to find a home for. Kylie, a miniature pinscher who wowed viewers with her cuteness, was adopted later in the day at Howl-o-ween by a couple who had seen her on the program and drove from Ooltewah to make her a part of their family.
The Walker County Animal Shelter also brought some dogs to the event, including Marco, dressed as a pumpkin. Marco is available for adoption (as of this writing) at the Walker County Animal Shelter.
Howl-o-ween was also a fundraiser for both NGAA and the Bark City committee. NGAA is an animal rescue organization and the Bark City committee is raising funds to build a dog park in Fort Oglethorpe. The location for the dog park has already been secured and construction is underway. Next year’s Howl-oWeen is slated to take place at the new park.
Howl-o-ween was truly a joint venture, says Fort Oglethorpe City Manager Jennifer Simpkins, who also sits on the dog park committee. Donations of food, beverages, candy, baked goods for the cake walk, gift cards and other items were made by Fort Oglethorpe Wendy’s, Fort Oglethorpe Pub- lix, Fort Oglethorpe Food City, Ringgold Ingles, Coca Cola, Fort Oglethorpe Papa John’s Pizza, Fort Oglethorpe Walmart, MEDSTAT of Fort Oglethorpe, and Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Earl Gray.
Catoosa County Parks and Recreation offered the use of the Northwest Georgia Amphitheater grounds at no cost. Greg Jackson and his son Evan served as emcees for the event. Catoosa Chamber of Commerce president-elect Amy Jackson, Fort Oglethorpe City Councilwoman Rhonda James and NGAA volunteer Lara Cooper served as judges for the costume contest.
When the event was over, an NGAA volunteer took baked goods and other food that remained to the Chattanooga Food Bank to share with those in need.
“We were pleased with how everything turned out,” says NGAA vice-president and Fort O dog park committee member Valerie Hayes. “... We all had a lot of fun and learned a lot, too. And Kylie found a home.”