Fun for a Good Cause

by Jun 14, 2023Events, Nonprofits, South Brunswick

Paws-Ability’s 6th annual BandFest raises funds for the all-volunteer nonprofit organization to help pay for medical treatments and provide other services that pet owners and rescues need.

Ruby, the featured rescue at Paws-Ability’s BandFest, was unable to attend the annual fundraiser, but the couple who adopted her report she is recuperating from eye surgery.

Gale and Drew Huyett of Sunset Beach welcomed the year-old, 75-pound bloodhound into their home about six weeks ago after Ruby received $4,000 worth of medical treatment. Ruby had entropion in both eyes, a condition in which the eyelids turn inward making the eyelashes rub against the eye surface. She also tested positive for heartworms.

“She’s adorable,” Gale says, who saw Ruby at a festival and knew she was the next pet for her and Drew. “You can look at her and see she’s a sweetheart.”

Sunset Beach NC Bandfest PawsAbility

Brunswick County Animal Protective Services housed Ruby until RACE (Rescue Animals Community Effort) took over and found sponsors to pay the bills. “We go every week to BCAPS to see what dogs we can adopt,” says Kathy Brunelli, foster coordinator at RACE. “Rudy was there for three weeks. I fostered her for six weeks.” She adds that Ruby, who is probably a purebred bloodhound, won’t lose her eyesight because she had the needed surgery.

Anita August, president of the all-volunteer nonprofit Paws-Ability, explains that the organization raises money to help pay for medical treatments and provides other services that pet owners and rescues need. “We serve as a central gathering point for information, resources, the rescues, the veterinarians and the animals,” she says. “No single organization can do everything for animals. It takes all of us working together as a team.”

Capital Chevrolet of Shallotte sponsored BandFest on June 4 at Sunset Beach Town Park.

“Paws-Ability is a great organization, and we really want to support rescue animals and spay and neuter clinics,” says Wayne Barbour, general manager Capital Chevrolet. “My personal dog [90-pound Labrador retriever-mix] is a rescue, so I have a heartfelt interest.” Capital Chevrolet also sponsored the Paws-Ability golf tournament in March.

PawsAbility Bandfest 2023

“Wayne stood up spontaneously [at the golf tournament] and talked about animal rescue and how much work it is,” August says. “He thanked us for the work we do. He is an animal lover and committed to our mission of improving animal welfare.”

Food trucks, including Hot Diggity Dogs, Pigs Up in Smoke, Blondiez Donuts, Dixieland Kettle Korn and the Makai Brewery tent were on hand to provide food and drinks at BandFest. The popular Sea & Sand Band and Jan Michael Fields Band offered entertainment. Vendors selling jewelry, jams, pet apparel, clothing, cards and many more items were among the 54 booths with their wares.

Raffle tickets on boat rides from Ocean Isle Marina and Carolinas Coastal Adventure Tours, Island Hoppers Bicycles and restaurant packages were among the raffle prizes people won.

Trish Kelley, executive director of Cat Tails, a no-kill cat adoption service in Ocean Isle Beach, brought several cats to BandFest. “It is kitten season,” she says. “There are lots of good choices.” Several cats were adopted that day, including Patsy, born April 5.

At the Chihuahua rescue tent, Monica Coleman cuddled 11-year-old Lexxi. “[Chihuahuas] are just so loveable,” she says. “They are loyal and protective.”

Kathy Tonn held 14-month-old Little Girl. “I have three Chihuahua mixes, and I’m fostering Little Girl,” she says.

Everett Deshong,7, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, wanted his parents to buy 3-year-old Ava, but his father Travis said they have a Jack Russell-beagle mix who wouldn’t accept Ava.
“Our neighbor has a Chihuahua,” Travis says.

About 1,600 pet lovers attended BandFest and represented all parts of North Carolina and several states. They brought their rescues and pure breeds. Eddie Taylor from Calabash brought Calabash Dock, a purebred Belgian Malinois. “I got him when he was eight weeks old,” Taylor says. “He loves to catch a ball or a Frisbee.”

2023 Bandfest PawsAbility

Margie Thompson, who lives in Pinehurst but camps at Wishing Well Campground in Sunset Beach, brought Daisy, a six-month-old rescue mix. Kat Schmierer of Wilmington brought Gracie, a 10-year-old that she fostered with RACE. Henley, a Great Dane, is the rescue of Terri and Jan Michael Fields of Little River, the lead singer of his band. When asked how much Henley eats, Terri says, “A lot. We go through 40 pounds of dog food in two-to-three weeks.”

Every color, size and breed of dog was represented at BandFest. Bill Brouwer of Carolina Shores brought mixes Bella and Bailey. “They are both girls,” Brouwer says. “That’s why they are wearing pearls. I come to BandFest every year. It’s a great event.”

“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” August says. “It’s fabulous. I’m glad people are concerned about animal welfare in our community.”

More Information: or call (910) 269-6885