Hot Dog Days heats up

PUNXSUTAWNEY — That special week that everyone who loves hot dogs looks forward to for the whole year has finally arrived. Hot Dog Days, which benefits the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, will start today at Fezell’s County Market.

This is the library’s largest fundraiser of the year, with a goal of $6,000 for the event, which is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
today through Friday in front of County Market, said Kathy Smith, secretary for the Punxsutawney Memorial Library Board of Trustees, which sponsors the event.

She said a hot dog, chips and a drink can be purchased for $2 all week long.

"We have numerous community members who have signed up to work at the annual fundraiser which is held right in front of County Market," Smith said, adding that this year the board will not be offering its small games of chance and will just be selling hot dogs.

Library board of trustees members are: Bev Fairman, president; Barbara Burkett, vice president; Amanda Hornack, chairperson for Hot Dog Days; Cindy Depp-Hutchinson, Mary Steele and Lara Little, board members; Dr. Jim Parise, treasurer; and William Spencer, Punxsutawney Borough Council.
"Because we are cutting out the raffle,

we will have more space for people to dine outdoors in front of County Market," Smith said, adding that Hot Dog Days wouldn't be possible without help from the employees of County Market: Tim Fezell, owner; Judy Jordan, store manager; and Denise Smith, office manager.

County Market's staff coordinates everything and contacts all of the vendors for the hot dogs, buns, drinks and condiments, she said.

"The hot dog fundraiser has been held for over 18 years, and first began at Bi-Lo when it was in the Punxy Plaza," Smith said.

"Thanks in part to this fundraiser, the library is doing amazingly well, as circulation is up," she said. "We're moving full speed ahead into utilizing modern technology, which will incorporate e-books, Kindles and Nooks in OverDrive."

Smith said the OverDrive program is funded in part by the county library system.

She said when someone borrows an e-book for his or her Kindle or Nook, it will work just like a borrowing a regular book for two weeks.

While OverDrive is a future program, one current program — the Children’s Summer Reading Program — is thriving, according to Smith.
"The Children's Summer Reading Program has been a huge success this year," she said.

Coral Ellshoff, library director, and her assistants have done a great job with the reading program, Smith said, adding that the program is very interactive, which the kids like.

Smith said there are a lot of books being taken out and read.

She said the board has applied for a Keystone Grant in order to upgrade the facilities.

"We're looking to improve the physical plant, with the front doors in need of replacement, as they are not very energy efficient, and the vestibule area is going to be moved back to better keep the outside air from coming into the building," she said.

"The only meeting room is the Pennsylvania Room, which is short on space," Smith continued, adding that the funds will be used to improve the staff work area and for a larger circulation desk.

Smith said she wanted to thank the Friends of the Library, which purchased new periodical racks, which is a big improvement since old and new magazines are now together in one area.

"Things are wonderful at the library; it is a very happy place to visit," she said. "The staff is wonderful and knowledgeable, they make everyone feel welcome and special, and I enjoy going in to help."

Ellshoff said even though there won't be any small games of chance this year, there will still be ice cream served and the annual book sale held on Tuesday.

Anyone who would like to order their hot dogs in advance should call the library at 938-5020.