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Busy Weekend On Tap
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Pets, motorcycles and firefighters will take enter stage in Escalon this weekend.

The sixth annual Blessing of the Animals is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10 at 10:30 a.m. at Saron Lutheran Church in Escalon. This is a non-denominational event, open to the public. All animals are welcome at the blessing but must be kept under control during the service, either on a leash or in a carrier of some kind.

This year's event is being hosted in memory of the late Jerry Matt, who was the driving force behind the original 'blessing' event many years ago and was an animal advocate in the community.

Freewill donations will be accepted with all proceeds going to Escalon's Animal Shelter. Refreshments and water will be available and there are a few T-shirts still for sale commemorating the event, at a cost of $10. The local shelter is in need of volunteers, supplies and food, with donations collected on Oct. 10 will help to fill that need.

"We wanted to try it a little earlier in the day," explained Saron Lutheran pastor Victor Berg-Haglund, noting that the morning start time is different than in past years, when it was held in the early afternoon.

"Some people had said afternoons were difficult, so we will see," he said.

This year, it will be a low-key event, without the various booths set up by organizations inside the church.

Next year, though, Berg-Haglund said they might look at expanding it in hopes of perhaps hosting an immunization clinic for animals as part of the blessing celebration.

"We haven't requested people to be there with booths but some of our members I believe will be bringing dog and cat treats and there will be refreshments," he said.

More information is available by contacting the church, 838-7695.

Also, the American Legion Riders are hosting a Poker Run that will start at Delta Power Sports in Lathrop and end at the Main Street Park in Escalon.

"We expect to have about 200 bikes there," said American Legion Riders spokesman Dennis Parish. "It's through the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation."

Bikers can register at Delta Power Sports between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10 and then proceed on the poker ride, ending in Escalon about 11:30 a.m.

There, the event will include live music, a barbecue, raffle and other activities.

"This is the first one," Parish said of the Escalon riders and Legion members getting involved to host the event.

Entry is $20 for the poker hand and the best hand wins at the end of the day.

Proceed will benefit veterans programs and services.

For more information about the event and how to get involved, contact Parish at 496-5825.

Finally, local residents can join members of the Escalon Fire District for the annual Community Open House at the Coley Avenue fire station, also slated for Saturday, Oct. 10.

There will be rescue demonstrations, tours of the facility and free hot dogs and sodas for all attending. Hours for the Open House, being hosted in conjunction with fire prevention week, will be 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Call for more information, 838-7500.