"I can barely keep up," said Lion Michael Barr, chairman of the Bavarian Nut Wagon. He was doing brisk business Wednesday evening selling candied pecans and other nutty treats to visitors to the Dogie Days midway in McDade Park. Wednesday evening was the first day of Dogie Days, the four-day carnival and fundraiser put on by the Dumas Noon Lions Club every year. This year is the 73rd Dogie Days, and it appeared to get off to a strong start. The rides and games were busy. Dumas Fire Department Chief Lion Ron Pray was running the bingo. "We have really had a lot of people come by tonight," he said.
Business was also brisk at the food concessions. Many people, like Doel Cordero, who, among other things, was on the midway to get some Rooster Eggs, look forward all year to taking a break from their diets and indulging in a lot of good-tasting carnival food. The Rooster Egg stand had a steady stream of customers, as did the hamburger stand. Manuel Artalejo, chairman of the burrito stand, said the brisket burritos were proving especially popular this year.
The weather was nearly perfect Wednesday night. Lions Club Head Wrangler Phil Guerra says weather is a huge factor in the success of Dogie Days every year. "If we have great weather, we will have great sales, and raise a lot of money." That is important, because Dogie Days is the largest fundraiser every year for the Lions. Last year, despite a rainy Saturday, the Lions were able to give away more than $117,000 to local charities and non-profits. After all the work and preparation, Guerra is hoping for continued good weather.
Earlier Wednesday, Lions were chopping and slicing onions, preparing peaches, and tossing 8,000 pounds of meat into long trenches dug for free by Presser Construction. The trenches were full of burning wood coals. Once the packages of meat were in the trenches, workers from Presser used bulldozers to fill in the trenches with dirt. On Thursday, the meat will feed thousands of people at the annual Dogie Days barbecue.
The activities continue through Saturday evening. The parade down Dumas Avenue starts at 11a.m. Saturday, and the midway opens up at noon. The final act of Dogie Days 2019 begins at 9 p.m. Saturday, when Lions Club Sweetheart 2018-2019 Addy Elsheimer reaches into the hopper and draws out the name of the person who will win the 2019 Jeep Wrangler that the Lions are raffling off. Tickets for a chance on the Wrangler will be for sale until the time of the drawing.