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BRONSON –One couldn't blame the folks at the Humane Society of Levy County for being a little nervous late last week.
With the prediction of rain on Saturday, the success of the inaugural Bark-N-Purr Festival hung in the balance.
Wet stuff could put a serious dent in the big fund-raiser held at the Bronson Youth League Park.
The rumble of thunder and the accompanying downpour early Saturday morning made things sloppy for a while, but the sun was bright all day long, drying the grounds up and making for a near perfect condition for the event highlighted by the evening concert by country star Chris Cagle.
When the last of the crowd had left following Cagle's electrifying peformance, Michelle Hagan, who headed up the organzational duties for the Humane Society, could heave a big sigh of relief.
"Awesome, " said Hagan, who estimated the concert crowd approached 5,000. "It was everything we expected and more."
The Humane Society of Levy County needed an overwhelming success to financially back its cause –the construction of a permanent home.
The group's headquarters are still located at the Bronson home of presudent Mike Schenk.
HSLC is looking to build its home in Bronson. The money raised from the Bark-N-Purr –estimated at perhaps $20,000 –would give them a big head start on the project.
The event started at noon with various vendors engtertaining those strolling the grounds. Food was a hit with barbecue no doubt the favorite. There was a barbecue cook-off with teams from Florida, Georgia and Alabama competing. Arts and crafts were also on sale. Local politicians wooed potential votes.
In a ring located in the middle of the concourse were performances by Disc-Connected Frisbee- chasing dogs and the Levy County Sheriff's K-9 corps.
Warm-up acts for Cagle included the Rick Gordon Band and Country Cousin Dan.
Cagle was on the grounds early, busing down from a Friday night show in Georgia. He was seen walking his pet boxer and bulldog.
One of the main sponsors –K Country –had a huge presence.
Hagan said the folks friom Bronson were incredible with their help, from –city council to staff.
"We wanted to do a big event in Levy County that was positive,"Hagan said. "It went off without a hitch."
She said Cagle genuinely enjoyed himself.
"He wants to come back,"Hagan said.
Which brings us to next year. Will there be a Bark-N-Purr II?
"That's our plan,"Hagan said. "We hope it's even better."