Metro Weekly

Dollars for Dogs: Nellie’s helps raise funds for Shaw Dog Park

Nellie's partners with Shaw Dog Park for a Drag Bingo fundraiser.

Dogs playing

Photo: Hollysdogs

“Shaw Dog Park is hugely important, especially with the Shaw/U Street/Logan area’s development,” says Steve Oatmeyer, president of the Shaw Dog Park Association. “We get close to 2,000 visitors every month, and we’re heavily promoted by realtors when they’re showing properties or new condos. We provide a safe space for well-tempered dogs, and a social space for their owners.”

But running D.C.’s oldest and largest dog park requires a great deal of upkeep. It costs about $4500 each year to maintain the surface of the park, which includes spraying disinfectant, pulling weeds, grading the gravel in the park, and watering and maintaining 10 great myrtle trees. And that can be a heavy lift for a space managed by volunteers and sustained by private donations.

To cover those costs, the Shaw Dog Park Association has been holding several fundraisers, including partnering with Nellie’s Sports Bar at its weekly Drag Bingo night, Tuesday, Nov. 21. Previous Drag Bingo nights have raised between $300 to $400 for the dog park.

“We’ve done multiple fundraisers in the past for various organizations,” says Justin Thomas, general manager of Nellie’s, who adds that animal-centric organizations are particularly close to management’s hearts. “We reach out to humane societies and other organizations to help out whenever we can.”

Nellie’s will donate $1 for every Nellie Beer sold during Drag Bingo, hosted by drag queens Sasha Adams and Brooklyn Heights. A jar will also be passed around the room for extra donations.

“The fundraisers we host at Drag Bingo are a lot of fun,” says Thomas. “The drag queens enjoy helping out a worthwhile cause, and it’s a really good way for organizations to get their message out to other attendees.” —John Riley

The Nellie’s Drag Bingo fundraiser for the Shaw Dog Park Association is Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 7-9 p.m. at Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St. NW. The Shaw Dog Park is at 1673 11th St. NW. For more information, or to make a direct donation to the dog park, visit

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at