CHARLES TOWN – The Charles Town Farmers Market went to the dogs on Saturday, and organizers say they hope to repeat the experience next summer.
The market’s first-ever Dog Day brought out big crowds, including many first-time visitors, said Todd Coyle, one of those who helped line up special presenters for the day, including a K-9 team from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and Debby Kay, an animal training pioneer who readies dogs to detect medical conditions and protect their owners’ health.
“It’s been such a fun day,” said Petra Armstrong, a Harpers Ferry resident who brought along Brody, who’s a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and a poodle breed, what’s known as a Yorkie-poo.
“I’d love to see the area have more things like this,” Armstrong said. “It’s good for people, it’s good for our dogs, too.”
Dogs definitely were the center of attention during the market, which was extended until 1 p.m. for the special event.
A worker from Gower’s Feed handed out free snacks and pet food samples to passersby while Sarah Fisher stayed busy not only selling her famed, made-from-scratch cherry, blueberry and peach pies, but handing out free homemade treats for pups. Fisher, who owns Mountain Mama Pies in Charles Town, made the crunchy, peanut buttery snacks to resemble cinnamon buns.
The market, located on the 100 block of South Samuel Street, will continue from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Oct. 13. Every week, it’s home to vendors selling fresh bread and other baked goods; goat cheese from a farm outside of Shepherdstown; just-picked vegetables and fruit; locally raised beef, lamb and trout; locally roasted coffee; eggs; homemade crafts, and many other products.
Animals in need of help were another attention-getter at Dog Day. Volunteers and workers from Briggs Animal Adoption Center set up an informational booth and shared info about Briggs’ new thrift store, making its debut today.
Buried Treasures, now open at 3731 Berryville Pike in Charles Town, is selling antiques, collectibles, adults’ and kids’ clothing, accessories, linens, quilts, artwork, books, DVDs and other items – with proceeds going toward Briggs’ programs that aid homeless animals.
Also on hand Saturday were volunteers from Greys Landing Greyhound Placement, who shared information about greyhounds available for adoption. Visitors also had the chance to pet the docile dogs, some of whom are specially trained to make visits to nursing homes and elementary schools.
Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue, the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County, Andrea M. Garza of Tri-State Pet Care, which matches prospective dog owners with pets in need of homes, and many other dog-centric organizations and businesses also were represented at Dog Day.
Petco donated stacks of prizes during Dog Day. A panel of celebrity judges awarded honors in categories such as best-decorated leash, best doggie smile and for the human who most resembled his or her pet.
Judges awarded the lookalike title to Cindy Brockman of Uvilla and her Lhasa Apso terrier, Caile. Coming in as runners up were Allegra Wright of Avon Bend and her dog, Betty White, who is more than 88 years younger than her celebrity namesake.
Another highlight of the day was a K-9 demonstration, with 3-year-old police dog Veit working with Cpl. Dustin Tabler and Deputy G.W. Kilmer.
Visitors also saw how Debby Kay works with Labs on detecting low blood sugar in their owners to stave off diabetic shock. “They’re trained to detect changes in human saliva and they actually can alert their owners to a problem 20 minutes before a glucose monitor would alert the patient.”
At Chilbrook Kennels in Harpers Ferry, the nationally known animal training pioneer also works with dogs that assist with other types of medical conditions and service work.
Entertaining throughout Saturday’s market was singer Jennifer Maghan, who tied into the Dog Day theme with her Black Dog Coffee T-shirt.
Maghan – who serves as Jefferson County Clerk and also is the romantic partner of Brian Bircher, owner of the Kearneysville coffee business – interpreted songs such as “You Were Always on My Mind,” “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Jolene.”
Want to know more?
+ Charles Town Farmers Market, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon though Oct. 13 along the 100 block of South Samuel Street. For details, find the market on Facebook or call Fiona Harrison, marketing manager, at 304-579-0924.
+ Briggs Animal Adoption Center, 3731 Berryville Pike in Charles Town. For details, see www.baacs.org or call 304-724-6558.
+ Greys Landing Greyhound Placement. For details, call 304-535-1438 or email email@example.com.
+ Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue, based in Charlottesville, Va. For details, see www.nvsr.org or call 703-912-4002.
+ Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County, a no-kill shelter located at 23 Poor Farm Road in Kearneysville. For details, see www.awsjc.org or call 304-725-0589.
+ Tri-State Pet Care, 10045 Leetown Road, Kearneysville. Fore details, call 304-725-7336 or go to www.tristatepetcare.com.