June 11, 2004 – More than 200 volunteers, businesses and community groups have contributed to what promises to be a Wagapalooza to remember come Sunday, the event's coordinator, Debbie Hime, said on Friday.
"This is truly a roots promotion working directly with businesses who genuinely want to support the efforts" of the St. John Animal Care Center, Hime said. "We set some pretty ambitious goals and have exceeded our own expectations."
In its fourth year, the event at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay has taken on a life of its own, she said. And one of multiple components at that.
For starters, there's WagaVille, "A Tiny Town in Coral Bay Just for the Day" that's an place for vendors to display their animal-theme wares. Open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the mini-expo will feature creature comforts from beds to clothes and items such as jewelry for their humans.
And then there's the WagaPhoto contest. "All pets are welcome to enter their favorite picture of their owners' devotion," Hime joked, explaining that the idea of the competition, new this year, is to "engage more community involvement in Wagapalooza." There's even a theme: "Who Owns Who?" (Oh, very well: Whom.)
From the entries she's seen so far, Hime said, the photo contest "is going to be a fun addition to the day's energetic antics to raise funds for a worthy cause."
It costs $5 to enter your favorite pet picture — which must be an amateur endeavor and in print form, 4 by 6 inches; no digital disks will be accepted. And you'll need to do it by noon, since the committee already has hundreds of early entries in hand. The prize is a professional pet portrait by well-known St. John photographer Steve Simonsen.
The winner will be decided not quite democratically but by popular demand in a manner that will raise some more money for the Animal Care Center: Votes that cost $1 apiece, with no limit on how many you can buy.
Also up for grabs, this time by the luck of the draw, is the WagaRaffle, with tickets priced at $5 apiece. Prizes include resort getaways, airline tickets and restaurant and retail certificates.
But the big draw is still the Wagapalooza dog show. Last year's attracted more than a hundred canine competitors, along with their humans. Judging categories on Sunday will include Best Costume, Best Trick, Dog/Owner Look-Alike and Best of Show.
Registration is $25 in advance or $35 on Sunday unless the exhibiting human is under 16 years of age, in which case there's no fee. The show is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and will probably last until around 4, Hime said.
Other opportunities for parting with some cash for the cause include purchasing this year's commemorative T-shirt and patronizing the Kit Kat Club satellite bar — where even the day's tips will go directly to the Animal Care Center.
If was four years ago that Jenn and Jeff Donnelly of Jolly Dog came up with the event as a way to raise money for the Animal Care Center. For more information, the dog show registration form and photos from last year's event, check out the Wagapalooza Web site.
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