My hounds and I are awfully busy with volunteer activities during Greyhounds in Gettysburg, but we always make time for perennial favorites. From ghost stories to shopping, and to meeting with old friends, we hardly sit down during the four days of the event. Each year is a new adventure. Exhausting, yes, but entirely worth it!
Plenty of GiG’s more than 900 annual visitors time their arrival to take full advantage of the first day of scheduled activities. My family is no different. In fact, depending on where and how we’re volunteering, we may be in Gettysburg well before most guests cross the state line into Pennsylvania. Event prep for us includes organizing raffles, assembling gift bags, and occasionally acting as runners for other volunteers who need to get in touch with organizers in other parts of the expo center. It should come as no surprise that we’re anxious to have some time to put our feet up and cuddle with our dogs around the Thursday night bonfire. Before we even get there, though, we make time to visit our favorite shops in downtown Gettysburg. Places like A&A Village Treasures and The Spirited Ladies Shoppe always make us feel welcome.
I spend the weeks ahead of Greyhounds in Gettysburg saving up so I can have plenty on hand for indulgences when I start making my rounds of the vendors on Friday and Saturday. One of my main goals is to grab something special for my dogs. We have more than enough toys, and my dogs don’t get the same glee from a new collar that I do, but food is always a winner in this house. Of course, I still sneak something into my collar collection (which at this point is enough to clothe more dogs than I will have in my lifetime), and I may add in some jewelry, an ornament, or something completely unexpected. I make a point to take Irish with me on a round to the God’s Greyts booth, where he gets to love on one of the volunteers who looked after him when he first came off the track.
As a volunteer, it can be difficult for me to make it to seminars and contests during the event. When I do, I’m never disappointed. I make an effort to swing by and see how things are going even when I don’t have the time to participate. It’s always a pleasure to see the seminar hall filled, and contest participants smiling. One contest I do make time for is the tricks contest, though I had to bow out last year, since my trick dog had a rotator cuff injury from a misstep in agility training. In years prior, I’ve had plenty of fun dressing my dogs up for the costume parade, and I always, always, make time for the Blur of Fur Speed Run. Maia has the fastest time ever recorded at over 100 mph in 2015. My fellow volunteers say it was a glitch while we were testing the speed gun before the run, but I refuse to be swayed!
Some of the best times at GiG, though, are the quiet times. My favorite memories are the little things: a long walk through the battlefields of Gettysburg; a quiet chat in the break room with friends; or a moment tucked away in a corner with delicious BBQ while my dad minds the dogs for a few minutes.
2017 will be my fifth year in a row at Greyhounds in Gettysburg. I plan for 2018 to be my sixth. If GiG is new to you, I hope you’ll join us. If it’s an old friend, I hope you’ll be there this year to get reacquainted. Safe travels to everyone!