The first Tabby’s Tails Vendor Fair kicked off the Christmas season on Saturday, December 2 where residents and visitors had the opportunity to browse local vendors, take their children to get their faces painted and bring their pets to get pictures taken with Santa Claus.
The Larkin Center at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center transformed on Saturday afternoon into a Christmas marketplace with various products and vendors on display for the community to browse. Candles, homemade jewelry, skin care products and other for sale items were readily available for customers to enjoy. Arts and crafts and food were also provided throughout the afternoon.
The vendor fair was organized through the Tabby’s Tails organization led by founder and president Jeannette Drake, who was directing vendors and checking in with visitors as they came in. With the vendor fair and additional organization outreach, Tabby’s Tails is currently raising funds and awareness for a mobile kennel shelter in the City of Newburgh.
“This community needs an animal shelter. We want to be able to help with vaccinations, we want to be able to help with neutering and spaying the animals, the training of animals,” said Drake. “I’m praying, it’s gonna be by the end of 2024. Within a year.”
The Tabby’s Tails organization is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is “To build a safe and temporary environment for animals in the process of finding them a forever home and developing community programs and partnerships to educate and strengthen the human-animal bond.”
The organization honors the life and memory of Drake’s daughter Tabitha Cruz who loved all animals. Cruz was a Newburgh Free Academy graduate who went on to attend Vet Tech Institute in Pittsburgh in pursuit of her dream of a career working with animals.
Sadly, Cruz was killed on October 30, 2016 along with her friend Omani Free. An argument had broken out at a Halloween party that the two were attending which resulted in gun shots being fired. In the wake of the tragedy, Drake was later able to find out that her daughter was already looking into animal care resources. With her prior research in hand, Drake now continues her daughter’s dream.
The mobile kennel units that Tabby’s Tails are looking to bring to the city go for about $70,000; however, they are considered more cost effective than their brick and mortar counterparts. They also already come with amenities like heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical infrastructure and indoor/outdoor living spaces for the animals to use while in their care.
“It’s good to support this cause and be a part of this organization,” said Max Cuacuas. “This is just one more step to establishing a location for Tabby’s Tails. We just ask people to support whatever fundraising events we have, because that’s ultimately going to help us move towards establishing a location.”
A fellow pet owner, Joe Alvarez, recognizes the intentions and work of Drake to make the shelter a reality and he believes that the group will reach beyond its goals in the future. “They’re here to provide a service for our community, and to our family and to our pets because they [pets] are part of your family,” he said.
Alvarez, who is also the president and founder of We Are Newburgh, was grateful for the opportunity to support Tabby’s Tails and the overall Newburgh community during the holiday season. We Are Newburgh brought 400 plus coats to be given out to those in need as temperatures continue to drop.
“A lot of people don’t understand the need, because they probably never experienced the need,” said Alvarez. “I come from the need and I’ve been blessed so many times over. Actually brings you a lot of joy and satisfaction, being able to extend your hand to someone in need.”
As the afternoon continued, more and more families along with their pets enjoyed the fair and the enjoyable holiday photoshoots as the Christmas season is in full swing.
Tabby’s Tails can be contacted/followed on Facebook at Tabby’s Tails, at Tabbystails.org or at Tabbystailsinc@gmail.com. Checks can made payable to Tabby’s Tails 610 Broadway #329 Newburgh, NY 12550, and donations are tax deductible. Tabby’s Tails also accepts donations via PayPal at their username tabbystails.