I am always anxious when we launch a new event at Seaside. Will the word get out? Will anyone show up? Will people like it? This past Saturday, 30A Radio in conjunction with the Seaside Neighborhood School hosted the first annual "Halloweener." The event was a total Dog fest with a Dachshund Derby and a costume contest for our beloved canines with proceeds going to Alaqua Animal Refuge.
As we pulled into Seaside the morning of the event, I was immediately relieved to see a substantial crowd of people and pets already gathering in the Amphitheater. Bud and I headed to the registration desk and were greeted by dachshunds of every color, size, and age. I had no idea that there were so many dachshunds in our area. The atmosphere was very festive with Kevin Boyle as the master of ceremony and great music from 3oA radio.
Blair Powell, the organizer of the event, had really done his homework. There was a very precise race course laid out on the Amphitheater lawn that the dox were to race in. The track was lined with a orange mesh fence to contain the dogs on the track. Very clever.
My husband and I thought we should let Bud take a few practice runs to see how this was all going to work. I had Wyman hold Bud at the starting line while I went to the opposite end. Easy enough. All I had to do was call Bud and he would run to me. After a few straight shot runs a volunteer informed us that the course was actually a "U" shape and that the dogs would have to make a turn and come back to where they started to cross the finish line. My adrenaline was starting to pump at this point. How in the world were we going to get Bud to do that?
The race was about to start and the Dachshunds were called to the starting gate by their numbers. Thank goodness Bud was number 10 so we would have a chance to watch a couple of races before our turn.
There were a few older dachshunds that they let run first. The trick was to run along the outside of the fencing so that your dog would hopefully follow you down the course. The biggest problem we discovered was that the roar from the crowd cheering the participants on was frightening to most of the dogs. Some startled pups turned around at the starting line and sought refuge in their handlers.
There were a couple of dox that seemed to have done this type of thing a time or two. Their smart owners came prepared with squeaky toys, a fellow pet friend and even two energetic running boys (obviously they practiced in the backyard!) Bud gave it his best, but was beaten in his first heat. What a relief! We could then relax and enjoy the race.
Hubert, a black and tan dachshund owned by Jim Caldwell and his wife, took top honors for the race with a photo finish at the end. The poor girl that owned the other winning pooch fell into the track when her dog stopped before crossing the finish line. I don't think I have laughed so hard in a long time, and I hope somebody sends that video into "America's Funniest Video's!"
After the Dachshund Derby the Canine Costume Contest was held on the Amphitheater stage. There were so many fabulous entries including a hula dachshund, a skunk dachshund, and a police dachshund.
The event was open to all breeds so we saw everything from Greyhounds to Chihuahuas. Justin and Stephanie Nichols, owners of Deja Vu at the Beach in Seaside, took home the winning entry with their dog Louie dressed as a lobster boil.
If you missed this years inaugural event, mark your calendars for next October 29th for the 2011"Halloweener." You won't want to miss this great new event in Seaside!
Some shots from the day....