By Pete Zamplas-
The Tails in Town dog festival Saturday raised money for local animal rescue groups, and entertained onlookers and participants with a canine beauty pageant won overall by the majestic “Zebra Phoebe” the fuchsia-striped poodle.
A casual run-walk 5K race along much of the Oklawaha Greenways Trail in town started the festival put on by the local Blue Ridge Humane Society (BRHS) and WTZQ 1600 AM/95.3 FM. The City’s Historic Downtown Hendersonville joined those two groups, to sponsor the race. Hunter Suburu was the major race business sponsor.
The festival gives “exposure” to the Humane Society’s many programs beyond the one it is best known for — getting stray or abandoned animals adopted, BRHS Executive Director Angela Prodrick. “We’re into adopting but also pet training and veterinarian services” that the Free Clinics arranges for those in financial need. Also, BRHS sells pet supplies in its thrift store.
Non-profit BRHS is intent on reducing pet overpopulation, and “ensuring the highest quality of life for animals…through adoption, outreach, and education” and by promoting “compassionate care.”
Dalleen Jackson, the City’s events coordinator, called it a time to “celebrate the companionship, unconditional love and joy that our furry friends bring to our lives.”
The seventh annual festival was outside the Historic Hendersonville Train Depot with name changed for Barq in the Park to Tails in Town, also for the second consecutive year. The depot is at 650 Maple St., just south of Seventh Avenue. This is among efforts of the City of Hendersonville and others to promote the Historic Seventh Avenue Business District.
Turnout and race participation were substantially better this time than a year ago, BRHS’ Prodrick and Development and Events Coord. Laura Rice said.
The race began and ended by the depot. The course included Patton Park’s looping trail, and Hyman Heights historic residential district. This was the second annual Mutt race. There were water stations, and a Pardee first aid station. Weather was milder than heat of the race a year ago.
Money raised by its $30 entry fee goes to local animal rescue organizations such as BRHS, Foothills Humane Society, Charlie’s Angels, Boxer Butts and Other Mutts, and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Prodrick said. Such groups were joined by about 50 venders, in a street fair along Maple. There were adoptable pets on hand, seminars and doggy cooling stations; also products in pet health care, food, toys, grooming, therapy and accessories. Families visited the depot, and its three huge indoor train layouts and one running outside.
The 5K top three times were by William Peterson (24:39), John Liberatos (25:58), and Alexander Meadows (27:35).
Fastest female finisher Johanna Ellis (27:36.7) was fourth swiftest overall. She and Ender, a large mixed breed, made great time despite Johanna pushing a double stroller containing a pair of toddlers. Next-fastest female racers were Victoria Arcara (28:20) in sixth place, and Hailey Vanasek (28:36) who was eighth overall. Finishing times were recorded for 92 runners, with the last one in an hour an 20 minutes, according to data from BRHS Operations Mgr. Jessica Chipriano. The 5K was set up to also be a leisurely jaunt for those eager to support pet causes.
The costume contest was a fun highlight. Best in Show (“Miss Tails in Town” is “The Zebra Phoebe” as her owners called her flamboyant fuchsia-dyed character. Phoebe, age six, is a standard poodle owned by Dawn Maki and Greg Redding. They own and run Dog in Suds grooming and day care, at 732 Jonesborough St. in Hendersonville. They own six dogs.
Dawn showed Phoebe. She told The Tribune it took her four hours to color and condition Phoebe. First was 45 minutes to dye black stripes on legs, down shoulders and and around the neck and to rinse excess coloring. Black contrasted with Phoebe’s white fur. Next, the black dried in Phoebe’s fur for 40 minutes.
Dawn then dyed the primary color of pink-purple fuchsia in a heart shape on the chest, on fluffy paw fur and fanned ear tips, and in fur atop head for an eye-catching pinkish hairstyle. There was more drying, and finishing touches. Several milk bone treats kept Phoebe calm and cooperative in the four hours.
Dogs were shown one at a time on Maple Street, then circled around all at once. Judges were Kathlene Beam, 22, reigning Miss Blue Ridge Valley and also latest Miss Hendersonville; and Miss Asheville Paige Henderson, 24, from Avery County.
Categorial winners were Bennie (Best Dressed) of Jennifer Hensley’s family for wearing pant legs, Coconut (Cutest) shown by young Nadia Hoffmeister, and Oliver the bearded hillbilly pug (Silliest) with Cherie Mathis.
The BRHS Adoption Center is at 88 Centipede Lane, off U.S. 64 East in Edneyville. Its thrift store is at 1214 Greenville Hwy. For more info, check blueridgehumane.org or call the Adoption Center at 692-2639 or the BRHS Thrift Store at 693-350