The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Dogs were decked out for downtown Dog Fair
BY ROB HEDELT
Richard Maye found out Saturday morning that the toughest thing about trying to set a new record for the largest costumed dog parade are those last few minutes before it starts.
Queuing up with some 118 other pooches and their owners at the city’s Maury Stadium, the Spotsylvania County dog owner had to strain to hang onto his 135-pound Great Dane.
Aptly named “Spirit,” the majestic horse of a dog was fit to be leashed, tickled pink to have so many other pups around with which to scratch and sniff.
On a more typical day, Maye would have taken Spirit to Battlefield Park to let miles of walking burn off the animal’s extra energy.
But with this day so new and his energetic animal joining so many others in Riverside Park, where the dog parade morphed into the Fredericksburg Dog Fair, Maye was a little nervous.
“I hope we don’t see a squirrel,” he said with a small wince. “If I see it first, we’ll be OK. Otherwise, things could get interesting.”
Maye was among the 150 or so who took part in the dog parade through the city’s downtown.
With 119 of those meeting the qualifications for the world record shot at the “Masquerade Dog Parade”—vet records and a two-piece costume were required—the effort didn’t succeed this year.
But organizers were thrilled by the turnout for the dog parade and the Dog Fair, which included everything from vendors to dog races to puppy photography.
“We’re so thankful to the many volunteers and sponsors who made this possible,” said organizer Bucky Cox.
You certainly couldn’t have convinced Abby and Emma Pare of Stafford County that the dog parade was anything but a winner.
The 6- and 7-year-old parade participants were in Wizard of Oz costumes—Abby as Dorothy and Emma as Glenda the good witch—with their dogs in matching outfits for the big walk.
“It’s just fun,” said Abby, pulling her dark, Dorothy braids back a bit.
Chrystal Kern of Stafford county was in full pirate garb for the parade, as were her Chihuahua “first and second mates,” Tuvok and Kso.
In some cases, dog’s costumes had special meanings.
Erin Lubeshkoff of Spotsylvania had her Australian shepherd decked out in a costume with one angel wing and one devil wing.
“It’s a reflection of personality,” she said of Vegas, who alternates between sweet and “intense.”
Jessica Reed had a different costume from her young, frisky Labrador “Watson,” the owner wearing the full penguin outfit while Watson got by with simpler draped garments.
Why the penguin suit?
“I paid $50 for it not long ago and I’m wearing it as many times as I can,” said the newcomer to Fredericksburg, who was joined in the parade by her husband John.
Ben and Lynn Faust completed their German pinscher’s costume neatly.
“Blitzen” was wearing a dog-sized saddle, complete with miniature jockey, while Ben and Lynn were also decked out as jockeys. Ben’s outfit was color-matched to Blitzen’s, complete with riding boots and helmet.
“We couldn’t find a bridle that fit a dog, so Blitzen’s wearing my cat’s body harness as a bridle,” she said, also pointing out the pooch’s “real” horse leg wraps.
At the Dog Fair downtown, a host of adoption and animal rescue organizations joined animal and food vendors to treat visitors to a wealth of topics.
There were rescue groups specific to many dog breeds, from bassets to bulldogs to border collies, with animals shelters from Fredericksburg to Orange County reaching out to educate and interest visitors in adopting dogs.
A favorite for many visitors: races put on by the Virginia Jack Russell Terrier club.
In the first race of the day along a narrow, fenced run, a Jack Russell named Happy Tails Indiana Emma of Virginia Beach not only ran to one end of the course, he hot-footed it back and was ready to run again.
Unlike little Scrappy, a Jack Russell who sauntered about halfway up the course before simply stopping to sit down.
A member of the group, Jessica Westbrooks of Spotsylvania, noted that the club was providing both the races and a “lure course” at the event.
She said she would have brought her own Jack Russell to race, but was too busy helping to organize the event.
Cox noted that proceeds from the Dog Fair events are expected to go towards dog adoption efforts and spay/neuter clinics.
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415