Anyone visiting the Village Centre Mall at Snyders this weekend had the chance to see genuine sled dogs, participate in a scavenger hunt and help out U.S. service personnel overseas.

Pocono Mountain Leather Company held its Fifth Annual Octoberfest Saturday and Sunday at its Andreas store in the shopping center, located at the intersection of Routes 309 and 895.

Ma-Luk Sled Dog Adventures, an enterprise that opened in West Penn Township two years ago, brought its dogs to the mall as part of the weekend, at the suggestion of Pocono Mountain Leather Store Manager Deb R. Miller.

"We like to be involved in events like this," said Brad MacMillan, owner of Ma-Luk Sled Dogs, who resides on Pine Hill Road.

MacMillan's company, family owned and operated, specializes in dog sled rides and wilderness tours, as well as offering training and educational programs for individuals, families, schools, organizations and special events.

"Ma-Luk" means "big foot" in the Inuit language of the Eskimos, MacMillan noted. It is also the name of one of the Malamute dogs he brought to the Octoberfest. In all, a total of six of the dogs, which he referred to as "freight dogs", were on display for patrons to watch and admire.

Nathan Rodriguez, 3, of Lehighton, was joined by his mother, Bernadette, in petting Ma-Luk as he lay by his owner's truck on the sunny afternoon.

The scavenger hunt was a good fundraiser, as it took the hunters to five different train stations to look for items.

Miller said that between the hunt, the festival and donations collected by nearby Sovereign Bank, more than $700 was raised by Sunday afternoon. The proceeds were to be utilized to purchase phone cards for American troops serving overseas.

Anyone wishing to assist with the fundraiser can contact Miller at (570) 386-8563. The website is [1].