LAMBERTVILLE — Indian Creek Camel Farm here will be the venue Saturday for the second annual Bedford Animal Palooza fund-raiser sponsored by the Bedford Athletic Booster Association.
Regina Whalen, an organizer, said money raised will go to pay the activities fees of Bedford junior high and high school students whose families can’t afford to do so.
“We have kids who want to play sports but can’t afford the fees,” she said. “So we give them what we call a ‘scholarship’ and pay the fees for them.”
Last year, the booster association paid almost $10,000 in fees for athletes at the high school and junior high levels, district Athletic Director Mark German said.
“We have a lot of families that are on free and reduced lunches,” he explained. “The boosters allow them to play.”
Mr. German said the financially strapped school district's high school pay-to-participate fee is $160 per sport for two sports, and $75 for a third sport; in junior high, the first two sports are $90 each and the third is $45.
The fund-raiser will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the camel farm, 2740 Consear Rd. Admission is $5. All proceeds from the event will go to the booster association. Parking will be available on site.
Joe Garverick, the owner of the farm, said his camels will be available for petting and riding. He has nearly two dozen, including a recently acquired paint camel only three months old.
“It’s a male that is brown and black and white with blue eyes,” he said. “It’s very, very rare. We think there are 30 in the country. He’s about four and a half feet high now and will reach seven feet when he’s 5 years old. They’re really very unusual.”
Mr. Garverick’s menagerie includes peacocks, zebras, wallabies, donkeys, emus, alpacas, and goats that will be there for viewing.
Ms. Whalen said last year’s fund-raiser at the camel farm attracted about 300 visitors.
“We’d like to double that this year. This is only our second year, but we’re making it an annual event,” she explained.
Mr. German noted that the boosters support many other good causes at the schools, including a $1,000 scholarship awarded each year to a boy and a girl at the high school, but the fund-raiser at Mr. Garverick’s farm takes the prize for originality. “My job brings me a lot of strange things, but I never thought I’d be staring up close at camels,” he said.