ENGLEWOOD — Deva Ballentyne, EARS Animal Rescue Sanctuary adoption and store manager, didn’t know what would be appropriate to help promote EARS for Pioneer Days, until the idea of the Little Rascals came to her.
The Little Rascals are the young protagonists and their dog featured in the “Our Gang” short films from the 1920s-’40s.
EARS will be sponsoring and running the official beer tent for Pioneer Days from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 1, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 2 at Pioneer Park. To help draw a crowd, not that a beer tent ever needs help, Deva’s son Adam Ballentyne volunteered to play “Alfalfa” and Rascal, the American bulldog mascot for EARS, will play “Petey.” It’s all in keeping with the 2013 Pioneer Days theme — Englewood Goes Hollywood.
“Adam was like, ‘OK, I’ll do it,’ then he was like, ‘How did I get roped into this?’” Ballantyne said. “I replied, ‘You agreed and you have to remember what you agreed to.’ My son was just a poor victim in this all.”
Putting the signature “Petey” circle around Rascal’s eye wasn’t easy for Ballantyne.
“He kept concentrating and shaking his head trying to focus on the paintbrush,” she said of Rascal, who spends most days “protecting” the EARS office at 145 W. Dearborn St.
Bobbi Austin, EARS board member, remembers the last EARS beer tent fundraiser. The 2011 Save Our Shelter event was rained out, but Pioneer Days will provide another opportunity.
“We’re hoping for a clear, sunny day and lots of people who will enjoy the beer,” she said. “All the proceeds will go to EARS Animal Rescue.”
Austin said there will be four volunteers at a time at the booth, providing information about the organization.
Helping as volunteers are members of the 776 Riders, a local motorcycle group.
“One of our volunteers (Paula Hines), her husband is a member of the 776 Riders,” Ballentyne said. “They also worked with us for Rascal’s birthday, and they did the biker bash too. They’re just a bunch of men who’ve been really helpful with the animals and not making me do all the work. It’s really nice.”
Ballantyne said she’s not sure what to expect for booth turnout.
“I heard during the Cajun Festival, they went through 35 (kegs of beer) in one day,” she said. “The Pioneer Day (Parade) is much larger than the Cajun Festival by far. We’re flying blind on this one.”
Ballantyne said EARS desperately is trying to get more foster parents and find permanent homes for needy animals.
“We also have lowered the (adoption) price, but because we’re so small, we still can’t afford to take a huge loss on every animal with the amount of medical work that’s been needed on some of them,” she said. “You just don’t want people to think they’re a bargain item. That’s what really bothers me. If what really entices you to get a family pet is if it’s $10, that’s really the wrong reason to get a pet. I understand (those with economic struggles), but there (are) so many (animals) in need right now of a good home.”
For more information, visit http://www.englewood pioneerdays.com , or call 941-474-3764.