Babylon Beacon

Pets, Pets, Pets

 

 

“Barktoberfest,” this Sunday, October 2nd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., may well be the pet social event of the season. It’s a free concert by Bill Giangrande & the K-9s, and a street fair with 60 vendors which will benefit and promote adoption of dogs and cats at Last Hope Animal Rescue and Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter.

The shelters are next door neighbors, so “Barktoberfest” will take place on our street – Beltagh Avenue in Wantagh – which will be closed from Wantagh Avenue west to the dead-end from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vendors will park in the Wantagh High School lot, and attendees there, or on the streets nearby. Hopefully, we’ll have good weather because there’s no rain date planned.

Bill Giangrande- Music & More: “Barktoberfest” is Bill’s brainchild and organizing the event has been the pet project of Bill and his wife Dana since July. They live close by and are dedicated animal lovers. They have a Lab mix, Great Dane and two black cats. Bill hopes his voice and band will speak for orphan animals and spread the message of adopting from shelters and rescues.

The band-Bill Giangrande & the K-9s

The band-Bill Giangrande & the K-9s

Bill made the arrangements with the Town for closing the street and to get an event stage trailer where the band will play and adoptable dogs will parade with introductions. Originally the event was going to be a free concert for Last Hope until Bill suggested the vendor fair idea. That’s when we invited Hempstead Shelter to join us.

Bill has worked tirelessly reaching out for vendors and booking them for October 2nd with their money back guaranteed if it rains. He enlisted the help of Phil’s Pizza on Wantagh Avenue corner. Phil’s paid for flyers printed and has been advertising “Barktoberfest” on their pizza boxes. WBAB radio announces our event.

Bill has been singing since he was 12. He has a three-octave range and took drum, guitar and piano lessons. During his senior year, Bill’s first band, Legacy, played at the Mepham High School talent show. When the scheduled singer got stage fright, Bill took the microphone and sang “China Grove” from the Doobie Brothers and “Faithfully” by Journey. Debbie Gibson was a show judge. He’s been singing on stage ever since. His previous band, Anyway You Like It, was a Journey tribute band, and had quite a following on Long Island and the metropolitan area.

Bill with his Great Dane puppy, Lilly

Bill with his Great Dane puppy, Lilly

That same senior year, Bill’s good friend Mike Graffeo was diagnosed with leukemia in December. His wish was to make it to the prom, but he succumbed to the disease that May. Bill and Legacy performed a benefit at Mepham High School in Mike’s memory, which raised $25,000 for the Leukemia Foundation. It was his first realization of music’s resounding power to help others in need.

Bill graduated from Hofstra in 1993 with a degree in journalism and music theory. He pursued his rock star dream locally and in California, but under his late father’s wise guidance of a limited amount of time to find what you “want to do” before b a ck ing that dream up with “what you have to do.” Bill works for the LI Railroad and plays music during his free time. Recently he began doing stand-up in local clubs as a singing comic.

Birdhouse mansion Bill made as a prize at the “Barktoberfest” raffle.

Birdhouse mansion Bill made as a prize at the “Barktoberfest” raffle.

He’s been inspired by artist Rick Springfield to combine music success with pet rescue showcasing. Springfield promotes animal shelters and rescues homeless dogs. Bill formed Bill Giangrande & the K-9s with the intention of giving back to desperate dogs. His cousin Sabrina, also a singer, plus the bass player, drummer, keyboard player and guitarist are all on board with pairing rescue with rock.

Sample of Barktoberfest Vendors: The 60 booked vendors include ten food trucks which will be parked at the end of Beltagh Avenue near the stage. Last Hope will have tables selling logo merchandise and select items, including jewelry, from our Thrift Shop in Huntingon. John Debacker, well-known cat rescuer, will have an educational spot, giving cat trapping tips and teaching the basics of feral cat Trap/Neuter/Return.

Some vendors have intriguing products or services, including robot parties for kids, picnic planners to match your budget, socks with motivational sayings, Charlie Brown and “Peanuts” theme products, 3D collages of mixed media art and Barking Biscuits with healthy, homemade dog treats.

High End Chinese Auction Prizes: Dana and Bill have gathered more than 40 amazing prizes and gift certificates from generous LI businesses for a Chinese Auction (raffle) outside during “Barktoberfest.” There will be around ten high-end prizes (list below) where chances will be $5 each or 3 for $10, and about 30 smaller basket and certificate prizes (not listed) with chances 25 for $20. All proceeds will go to Last Hope and Hempstead Shelter’s Tails of Hope fund for complex veterinary cases. Winners need not be present. Below are the big prizes:

Acoustic Guitar from Music Emporium- Bellmore.
Boogie Board from Bunger Surf Shop-
Babylon Village.
Two Tickets to upcoming play
winner’s choice- Argyle Theater- Babylon Village.
Handmade Birdhouse Mansion with Pool
created by Bill Giangrande.
Massage Gift Certificate- Hand & Stone Bellmore.
$100 Gift Certificate- NY Chic Boutique- Bellmore.
$100 Gift Certificate- Ridgewood Station
Tavern- Wantagh
Two $75 Gift Certificates-
Grooming by Rachel Bellmore.
$100 Tattoo Gift Certificate-
Kinetic Body Art- Levittown.
$100 Gift Certificate- Salpino Italian Market-
N. Bellmore.

Last Hope and Hempstead Shelter would like to
thank Bill and Dana Giangrande in advance for
their vision and hard work putting together this
“Barktoberfest” extravaganza. We appreciate the band
fitting homeless dogs and cats into their busy schedule.
People give the ultimate gift of kindness when they
donate their talents and time to help pets in need. Hope
to see you at “Barktoberfest” next Sunday.

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