Submitted by Gwen Aumann
Set in the North Georgia Mountains, Friends of Unicoi State Park saw the beginning of an annual event at the park for years to come. The Friends of Unicoi's 2011 Bark in the Park was the first big fundraising event for the park. It all began in April 2011 when Gwen Aumann, Vice President of Friends of Unicoi, applied for $5,000 in funding for her chapter. Friends of Unicoi worked with park staff to raise additional funds needed to bring about much-needed park improvements, such as washers and dryers for the campgrounds at Unicoi. Additional funding went towards hosting a dog event to raise money for the park and increase dog awareness and community education. With only three months to prepare, a committee was formed, preparing for Unicoi's first "Bark In The Park."
Saturday, September10th, was a beautiful fall day. The event was complete with vendors, a silent auction, basket raffles, music, T-shirts, adoption organizations, search and rescue teams, and a photographer who was able to captures some fantastic shots of the adorable dogs with their owners. Altogether there were 100 participants enjoying the day, with plans to come back next year.
There are many people who worked together making this a wonderful day. Friends of Unicoi would like to thank all the Friends volunteers, the Friends Bark in the Park committee, and park employees who made this event a success.
Friends of Unicoi would like to thank several businesses that made the event possible with their generous donations. Thank you to United Community Bank, Mountain Valley Bank of Cleveland, Nora Mill, Betty's, Randy's Pharmacy, Sarah Samsel, Bob and Cathy Hakes, Mountain Melodies Manufacturing Corporation, Blue Creek, Inside Outside, Dollar General, Charlie Potter, Elfin Toys, Rx Hair, Cleveland Pet Store, Russ Keane, Yonah Pickers, Mountain Jam, Alpine Mini Golf, Pets Gone Wild, Pet Memories and Crystals Canine Treats. A special thank you to Tommy Boys, the food vendor, who served up some yummy hamburgers and hot dogs!
Friends of Unicoi accomplished so much in a short period of time. It will be fun to see what happens next year when there is a whole year to prepare for Bark in the Park. The date is set for Saturday, September 15, 2012; join us!