K-9 festival to be replaced by Gemma-focused scavenger hunt

Scott Swanson

Sweet Home Police Department will host an alternative-format K-9 Jamboree this year, a scavenger hunt that will feature the department’s canine officer Gemma, from Oct. 3 through 17.

This year’s Cascade K9 Jamboree will be a photo scavenger hunt beginning Saturday, Oct. 3.

While the Sweet Home Police Department was unable to offer its typical festival-style Cascade K9 Jamboree, thanks to restrictions imposed by the state to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it developed this event as a “fun way” to get Sweet Home residents out and about, Community Services Officer Sean Morgan said.

““We essentially canceled over COVID-19,” he said of the event, which was held during last year’s Sportsman’s Holiday celebration. “But (organizers) Connie DeBusschere saw other organizations doing events like this and thought it would be a fun alternative to the traditional festival format.

“We thought it would be a great way to have a community-wide event exploring our town and having a good time before winter rain really gets going.”

During the scavenger hunt, participants will begin at the Sweet Home Police Department and visit stops along multiple routes. At each business participating in the scavenger hunt, participants will take photos of themselves, their dog and an image of Gemma. “Gemma” will provide clues at each business stop to the next locations on the hunt, which may also include local landmarks and points of interest.

At each stop, participants may upload their photo to the Sweet Home Police Department Facebook page via Facebook Messenger to allow the department to track progress. For each photo, one at each stop, the participant will receive a raffle ticket for prize drawings at the conclusion of the event, 5 p.m. on Oct. 17. Participants do not need to be present to win. Prizes are donated by local businesses.

Proceeds from the 2020 Cascade K9 Jamboree help pay for supplies, training, and emergency veterinary services to ensure that Gemma can continue to assist police officers in their fight against crime.

People may sign up ahead of time at the Sweet Home Police Department (cash or check only), City Hall, The New Era, the Chamber of Commerce or Sweet Home Choppers. A limited supply of event T-shirts are available to those who register earliest. Remaining participants will receive T-shirts at the completion of the event. For those who complete one of the available routes, participants will receive an event dog bowl.

The cost to sign up is $25 ahead of the event and $35 beginning Oct. 3. The Sweet Home Police Department will register participants at the Harvest Festival on Oct. 3, but participants may continue to register through Oct. 9 by signing up at SHPD, City Hall, The New Era, the Chamber of Commerce or Sweet Home Choppers.

For additional information, contact Morgan at (541) 367-5181 or email [email protected].

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