October is right around the corner, and for New Yorkers like Frank Camuso and his family that means a few things. That crisp, cool, fall weather. The beautiful array of colors in the changing leaves. The sounds of costumed children, as they trick or treat through the neighborhood, and Oktoberfest. Usually, a time to celebrate good food, family, beer, and more. But this year, Frank Camuso and his comrades on Staten Island are putting a new twist on things and celebrating an event they have coined as Dogtoberfest – an animal-friendly, Halloween celebration.
Recently, Staten Island has been home to a number of pet adoption rallies, with more dogs having found new homes this year than in the last 50 years on Staten Island. As dog lovers themselves, Frank Camuso and his wife Christine, are happy to get in on the action, even volunteering during a few of the early adoption drives, and helping put together some of the more recent ones. All this good fortune for pets and puppies have got Staten Islanders feeling good about all that is to come, and all that is possible in the world of pets and puppies.
Now the event itself, Dogtoberfest, is taking place on Sunday, October 28th of this year at Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn located on Arthur Kill Road in the Charleston section of Staten Island. The event will have a live DJ, playing top-40 hits and oldies – some favorites of Staten Islanders like Frank Camuso. In addition, there will be food and drink specials, other live entertainment, raffles, giveaways, family-friendly activities, and a whole lot of cute dogs all decked out in their Halloween best! The event will also play host to a Halloween costume contest, and parade – both humans, and pets alike will show off their best costumes. Like much of the family events on Staten Island this year, the proceeds will be going to charity. All of the money made will go towards the benefit of Fur Friends in Need, a charity for animals.
While this one event will surely be a fun time for families and their pets – it points to a bigger change that’s occurring on Staten Island, before our very eyes. More than ever Staten Island seems to be playing host to a lot more family fun, and community organized activities – something that rarely happened on the island for much the last 3-4 decades. Growing up on Staten Island during the 70’s, 80’s and even the 90’s was usually a series of boring days one after another. With such little community influence and so much idle times for kids and teens – many youngsters steered down the wrong path. This was most evident because of the huge rises in crime, drugs, and drug-related crimes; seen in the better part of the 2000’s. Most of the men and women on drugs or committing crimes for drugs grew up during the dull year on Staten Island, and many became addicted to the substances as well as the lifestyle it fostered. A family man like Frank Camuso has never been happier, as there is finally enough positivity, and engaging activity to keep his kids, as well other kids busy and on the right track.
It seems that every weekend and even most weekdays there is something to do, some event, or some drive that in essence, gives back to those who are less fortunate. Teaching the future generations about giving, and the importance of family and community. For more information about Dogtoberfest, or similar events in the coming months on Staten Island, contact the SI community events center, or check out their website.