Steps for Pets goes groovy with ’60s theme
By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – On Saturday, Sept. 14, Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary (HEA) will host its Sixth Annual Steps for Pets with a ’60s themed event at Meadowbrook Park in Howard beginning at 10 a.m.
“This year is our sixth year and it just felt like an appropriate shout-out to tie 6 and 60 together,” said Marcus Reitz, who handles branding and development for HEA. “Our goal with it is to add an element of fun and let people come out with the opportunity to put their dogs and cats in some spirited elements of wardrobe and create some magical moments for photos and creating memories.”
All funds raised will support the ongoing care to the more than 700 animals HEA will help in 2020.
Numbers keep growing for HEA, which in 2018 had 480 successful adoptions, a 95 percent increase from 2016.
This year HEA is on track to have more than 500 successful adoptions.
“These fundraisers are helping us put the right tools and programs in place that will allow us to achieve growth for the future of companion animal welfare,” Reitz said. “This obviously includes the daily medical care, emergency care and the care we are able to provide for animals directly.”
Walk registration begins 10 a.m., followed by the walk at 11 a.m., with festivities until 2 p.m.
Participants can choose a 1-mile or 5K route through the park.
A variety of 1960s-themed activities and raffles, along with demonstrations, entertainment and food trucks will be on-site.
“As a part of the event, we are doing some costume contests for the most ’60s spirit, and that can be for people and their pets, it can be for teams,” Reitz said. “We want to see people out there channeling their inner hippie, and as far as the contest we’re going to be hosting a lyric showdown. Additionally, we’ll be hosting a Nutter Butter eating contest because Nutter Butters were released in the ’60s.”
Lisa Malak of WFRV Local 5 will emcee the family/pet-friendly event.
There will also be pet demonstrations and information from the Brown County K9 unit, The Becket School of Training & Rehabilitation, Sit & Stay Pet Resort and The Polka Dot Poodle – Designer Pet Grooming, offering designer grooming with pet-safe products for animals who want to get into the ’60s spirit.
Artist Samantha Wanner will be on hand developing a special chalk art piece.
Food truck vendors include Dirt Juicery, The Dough Shoppe, Gourmet Corn and Philly’s & York.
HEA will also be releasing its annual fall/winter apparel line.
“There’s some hometown spirited garments in there and we continue to expand upon the sweatshirts and lounge wear and things that people have come to love from us,” Reitz said.
The cost to participate is $20 for adults, $10 for students (ages 6-14), and free for children under 5.
Walkers also have the chance to earn prizes for having friends, family and co-workers support their participation with donations.
Capital Credit Union is returning as this year’s Official Walking Partner.
Other major event sponsors include: American National Bank Fox Cities, Festival Foods, Fox Valley Mini Storage, Green Bay Packers Give Back and Redfish.
“The sponsors and all the walkers that come out that day are just critical to the success of events like these and us being able to further the mission through their generosity,” Reitz said. “We’re very proud of the long-standing relationships and also those who are newcomers to this year’s lineup and event.”
Meadowbrook Park is located at 670 Hillcrest Heights in Howard.
Through the work of the Sanctuary and its adoption, education, spay/neuter, rehabilitation and sanctuary programs, the mission of Happily Ever After is to provide a loving home to every companion animal that enters its care – lifetime guaranteed.
“Steps for Pets is about creating shared experiences and memories as a pet-loving community,” said Amanda Reitz, the nonprofit organization’s founder. “This fundraising event plays a critical role in supporting HEA’s vision of creating a world where the life of every companion animal matters.”