Dog Day Downtown returns to Middletown for seventh year

Community members and their furry friends are gearing up for the 7th Annual Dog Day Downtown, which will be held on Friday in downtown Middletown.

“This is the 7th Annual Dog Day Downtown, and it was created by Kara Goheen for her love of animals. Unfortunately, she passed away almost two years ago, unexpectedly. So, we are keeping this going in her honor, but she always joked that she loved pets more than people,” said Mica Glaser-Jones, owner of The Windamere Event Center, a member of the Downtown Middletown, Inc. promotions committee, and a lead organizer for Dog Day Downtown.

Dog Day Downtown will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in downtown Middletown. The event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

“Kara was such a huge part of our downtown, and her heart and soul were in this event. We created a foundation to support this called ‘Kara Goheen Friends and Furball Fund,’ and earlier in the year, we had ‘Kara’s Mutt Strutt’ in April, which is when her birthday is. So, we had a 5K and a fundraiser that weekend as well to help build funds. The whole purpose of her foundation is to help support Dog Days, but also to supply emergency funds to area rescues,” Glaser-Jones said.

This is our way of honoring Kara and keeping her spirit alive, she said.

Kara passed away on Nov. 8, 2020. The first “Kara’s Mutt Strutt” 5K was held on Kara’s birthday on Apr. 24. Kara was originally from New York, and her family still travels to town to support the events.

Dog Day Downtown will include free treat stops, a dog talent show, pampering, a DJ, an “after party” and more. The Middletown Police Department will present a K-9 demonstration at 7 p.m. in Swallen’s Park (in the greenspace behind Pendleton Art Center Middletown.) Most of the activies will be in and around Governor’s Square and the booths will run along Broad Street toward Manchester.

“This is always a huge draw for our downtown, because people love their dogs, and they love to bring them downtown. A lot of the local businesses will have treat stations and goodies for all the dogs, and there will be four animal rescue organizations on site, in case someone wants to add to their family,” Glaser-Jones said.

There will be several contests throughout the evening, including a “Best Bark” contest at 5:45 p.m., a “Show Us Your Talent” contest at 6 p.m. and a “Peanut Butter Eating” contest at 7:30 p.m. at Governor’s Square. Attendees should sign up for the contests the evening of the event at the DMI tent prior to the start of each contest.

“This is a great community event that brings everyone together to show off their pups, and everyone just has a really good time,” said Glaser-Jones. “Our downtown businesses always look forward to it, and they have a lot of activities going on. So, it’s a fun, family night out,”

There will also be complimentary nail trims by Animal Arts Academy, micro-chipping and a variety of participating vendors to visit. There will be a DJ playing music and a limited number of goodie bags will be available for attendees from the DMI tent. Giveaways will include doggie bandanas, reflector tags, dog bones and more.

White Dog Distilling Co & Bourbon Bar and DC Roadhouse will host a dog-friendly “after party,” which will be held in the greenspace between White Dog and DC Roadhouse, beginning at 8 p.m. with a DJ and karaoke.

Participating animal rescues will include PAWS Adoption Center, All Paws Matter, No Tails About It Corgi Rescue and Brave Breed Rescue, Inc. There will also be a face painter on site for the kids.

“Dog Days and Hocus Pocus were created by our beloved friend, Kara Goheen. She wanted to get people to explore the businesses downtown so she would come up with family fun events or themed events that included a passport to visit the downtown businesses. Kara worked diligently with Downtown Middletown Inc. (DMI) to help promote and create fun for downtown for the last several years,” said Jamie Murphy, a volunteer for the event and co-downtown property owner.

Goheen was very involved with Downtown Middletown, Inc. A few events were considered “her babies,” including Dog Day Downtown and Hocus Pocus. They were two events that she really enjoyed planning, Murphy explained.

“Kara passed away unexpectedly in 2020 and boy was it devastating for a lot of us. She was a great friend to many. We spent countless hours volunteering together, So, events are not as exciting without her. I’m not sure if Mica and I will ever get over losing her. She was special. Not many people gave 1,000 percent like Kara did,” said Murphy.

The event is sponsored by Downtown Middletown, Inc., Middletown Community Foundation, Kara Goheen Friends and Furball Fund and Balloon Dog Events.

How to go

What: Dog Day Downtown

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Downtown Middletown

Cost: Free. Items are available for purchase. Free treats will also be available for pups.

More info: Friendly, vaccinated and leashed dogs are welcome to attend.

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