LACONIA — The 5th Annual BOW WOW Fest, which will be held rain or shine on Saturday, May 2, has set an ambitious goal of raising $3,000 this year for the support of police K-9 units in Laconia, Gilford and Belmont.
''That's more than double what we raised last year'' says Claire Hebert-Dow, community relations coordinator for Melcher and Prescott Insurance, a long-time supporter of the BOW WOW Fest, who says that last year $1,350 was raised and split between the Laconia and Gilford police departments.
She says that the idea for the BOW WOW Fest started with a front page newspaper photo of a dog named "Boo" and her owner walking along the WOW Trail.
''I thought we have a WOW Ball, why not a BOW WOW event?'' says Hebert-Dow, a member of the board of directors of the WOW Trail, who says the event annually attracts between 100 and 140 dogs and was a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Humane Society in its first year.
''The Humane Society decided they wanted to be vendors and they'll be here again this year in that capacity,'' she says, noting that or the last three years proceeds have gone to police K-9 units.
She is counting on the presence of ''The Hulk'', 173-pound Pit Bull Terrier who has become a national figure since his appearance on ABC's ''Good Morning America'' to help draw a record turnout for the BOW WOW Fest.
''We're very happy to support this even, which is important to both our quality of life and our economy.'' says Chris Volpe, CEO of Melcher and Prescott. ''We're especially happy to participate in an event supporting the Gilford, Laconia and Belmont police departments.''
The festivities begin with registration from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Elm Street entrance to the trail at Lakeport Square. The registration fee is $10 and another $5 gets you a T-shirt with all monies. dedicated to the K-9 unit of the Laconia Police Department. Additional T-shirts are on sale for $10 with all proceeds to benefit the WOW Trail.
After the dogs are blessed at 10:05 a.m., the parade will begin. Costumes will be judged as the pets and their owners take to the trail, headed for downtown. From 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. there will be talent judging with prizes awarded.
Dog must be leashed with an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Owners should be dressed for inclement weather and prepared to clean up after their dogs.
Proceeds from the 5th annual BOW WOW Fest which will be held on Saturday, May 2 will be used to provide support for K-9s at local police departments. Gathered at the Lakeport end of the WOW Trail to promote the event are Adam Van Steenburg of the Gilford Police Department, with German Shepherd "Ike"; Ann Saltmarsh of the Laconia Department of Pubic Works; Annie Boissoneau of the Lake Opechee Inn and Conference center with "Keenan", a golden retriever; Chris Volpe, of Melcher and Prescott, a long-time supporter of the BOW WOW Fest and the WOW Trail; Michelle DuPont of the Lakes Opechee Inn and Conference Center with "Diamond", a golden retriever who is "Keenan's" sister; Mike Armstrong of the Laconia Police Department with "Titan", a Czech Shepherd; back row, Claire Hebert-Dow of Melcher and Prescott, a BOW WOW Fest organizer, and Evan Boulanger of the Belmont Police Department with "Vido", a half German shepherd, half Belgian malinois. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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