DEANVILLE – Area residents braved heat and humidity June 30 in support of Just Us For the Animals, a low-cost cat- and dog-spaying program. The event was held at the Stumble Inn, a private campground located just south of New Bethlehem near the village of Deanville in Madison Township, Armstrong County.
The inaugural event featured crafters, a wine walk, prize drawings, microbreweries, food and live entertainment.
JUFA founder Lynn Porada, Punxsutawney, said that the turnout was good despite temperatures hovering near 90 degrees.
“This is a good venue for this kind of event,” she said. “JUFA receives its operating capital from fundraisers. As we do not have a physical brick-and-mortar facility, it is the best way to let people know that we are active in the area.”
Porada founded JUFA in 2016 but had been active in promoting neutering programs before that.
“I met Stephanie Bonanno from the New Bethlehem area about four years ago,” she said. “We clicked as people and as partners in animal rescue efforts from the start.”
Bonanno was working in a Walmart pharmacy, and Porada was a licensed practical nurse when their paths crossed during a workday phone conversation. Their mutual concern for animals and their backgrounds in healthcare led them to found JUFA after area communities began addressing troublesome colonies of feral cats.
JUFA, in conjunction with the staff of the Animal Hospital of Punxsutawney, captures feral cats and neuters them, reducing the feline population in the most humane way possible.
The Stumble Inn event drew vendors from as far away as DuBois, while attendees were from the local area. Regional wineries from Shippenville and DuBois offered samples of their wares from tree-shaded canopies.
Guy and Jewel Sherry, New Bethlehem, said that they had never been to the campground facility before. A friend’s suggestion brought them to the JUFA event, a welcome rest after a day of making hay in the late-June heat.
“We were looking for something different to do,” Jewel Sherry said. “This is nice, and not too far away.”
Vendor Alice Ferringer Lawrence, well-known for her long association with the Burger King restaurant chain in the region, relaxed beneath a canopy with her stained-glass creations.
“I retired last year, but I had been making stained glass items for a while. I decided to start taking them to some small festivals around here,” she said. “I stay close to home out in Porter Township most of the time, so traveling around to a few festivals gets me out and socializing.”
Other local vendors included Laura Neiswonger, New Bethlehem, who was selling 31 merchandise in support of Monroe’s Mission, another area fundraiser benefiting Monroe Barrett, a Madison Township child who suffers from Dravet’s syndrome.
The JUFA event began at 4 p.m. when vendors opened their stalls and wineries began serving wine walk participants, ending at 8 p.m. Live entertainment was provided on the campground stage from 7 to 10 p.m. by Steve Guffalo, Chris Hepler and Brandon Giuffre.