Crafts and Critters Cruise-In takes place in Hamilton today and Saturday

One local non-profit will raise funds to purchase a new K-9 for the Hamilton Police Department.

“With the funds raised at this event, we are going to buy a K-9. It will be a narcotics K-9 and if we get to our goal, which we’re hoping we will reach, we will also be paying for the training that is needed between the K-9 and the handler, and hopefully, we will be able to buy safety vests along with that. We are at about 70 percent to our goal right now,” said Janet Hickman, founder, Critters & Cruisers Foundation and organizer of the Annual Crafts and Critters Cruise In & Car Show.

The 7th Annual Crafts and Critters Cruise In & Car Show will be 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 29 and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 30 at the Pinball Garage. This year’s goal is to raise $20,000 for a new K-9 for the Hamilton Police Department. A hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Hamilton Police Department for the purchase a new K-9 for their department. Any excess funds will go for additional training for the existing K-9s.

A pre-trained K-9 costs about $11,500. The safety vests cost about $2,000 to $3,000 each. Two safety vests are required for each K-9, along with other gear like goggles. The handler and the K-9 complete training together, which costs about $3,000, and the handler also requires special gear.

There will be a cruise in on Friday night with a $5 fee for participants. On Friday, participants can just show up and pay the $5. The first 100 cars will receive dash plaques.

On Saturday, the event will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pre-registration for the car show is $15 prior to the show. The cost of registration the day of the show will be $20. Cars can arrive between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. This is an open car show with cars, trucks, Jeeps, motorcycles and more.

Also, on Saturday, the event will include about 100 crafters and vendors set up outside in area parking lots and on sidewalks, including food trucks, ice cream trucks and Kona Ice. The Pinball Garage will also be open. Admission is free for attendees and the event is pet friendly. Items offered by crafters will include purses, pottery, tumblers, quilts, jewelry and much more.

“When the event first started, funds were raised for local animal shelters, and last year, we started seeing the need when budgets were being cut at the police departments and things like that, Hickman said.

She said, going forward, proceeds of the event will support the Hamilton Police Department.

“We recently got two K-9′s for the police force, and really, our city is too large just to have two K-9′s. Last year, half of the funds went to an animal shelter and half the funds when to the Hamilton Police Department,” she said. “This year, we decided we are going full force to support HPD, so we can purchase a new dog that is going to be needed, especially with Spooky Nook coming in, and really, we need a fourth K-9. So, hopefully, next year, that will be our next project of putting another dog on the streets.”

Last year, there were more than 125 participating cars, and Butler County businesses also stepped up to support the event. The event continues to grow. The Friday night Cruise In was added this year as well as live bands on Friday and Saturday. Pinball Garage will server DORA beverages.

“As long as we have great weather, it’s going to be a huge success this year,” Hickman said.

Hickman and her husband, Steve, started the event. Last year, about $14,000 was raised. The funds were split between the Hamilton Police Department and Animal Adoption Foundation. The Hickman’s have several family members serving in law enforcement.

“This year, I said I’m going to buy and K-9 and that’s what I’m going to do,” she said. “Right now, we’re at about $13,000 of our $20,000 goal, so we have a ways to go, but I’m very confident that the community is going to rally around us and push us over that $20,000.”

For example, The Kleingers Group, has sponsored the event for $2,000, and they are going to help name the dog. They are going to provide Hamilton Police Department with three possible names, and then the K-9 handler will choose the final name. Smaller companies like AutoZone, Cane’s, KOI Auto Parts, Flying Ace Express Car Wash and Pet Supply Plus are providing raffle items, door prizes and giveaways. O’Reilly Auto Parts is sponsoring dash plaques, award plaques and trophies.

“It’s just nice knowing you’re helping HPD, which helps the community, and this event really brings the community together. It’s just a fun time. We see so many happy people,” Hickman said.

Pinball Garage is located at113 N. 3rd St. in Hamilton. For more information, contact Janet Hickman at or by calling (513) 668-6054. Anyone who is interested in donating, may also donate to the Critters & Cruisers Foundation at the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Entertainment Line-Up:


5-6:30 p.m., O’Reilly’s Fetch & Co

7-9 p.m., The Feel’s


1-2:30 p.m., The Half Suns

3-4:30 p.m., Queen City Silver Stars

5-6:30 p.m., CFG & The Family

7-9 p.m., Gerhard Albinus Band

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