Pets to go on parade to kick off the fun

The younger sibling of Exercise Like the Eskimos is the annual Hometown Pet Show, which will celebrate its sixth edition in 2007. The pet show leads up to the watery plunge, providing pre-swim entertainment and an alternate mode of competition for those who aren’t brave — or crazy — enough to actually get in the water.

The pet show will begin at 10:45 a.m. this year, with participants checking in between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. All registered pets will receive a ribbon for their participation, in return for the $5 registration fee. (All pets must be leashed and under their owner’s control.)

Like the Eskimos event, the pet show is a charity benefit, with all proceeds to benefit Bethany Town Cats, which works to aid and control local feral cat populations, and the Safe Haven Pet Refuge, which is being created as a no-kill shelter for area pets. The pet show also serves as a point to collect donations of pet food for needy animals, so such donations are encouraged.

This year, the Hometown Pet Show will get a new emcee, Coastal Point Editor Darin McCann, who was already looking forward this week to the big gig.

“I was flattered to be asked,” said McCann, who himself has a new pug puppy named Bailey. “I was one of the judges of the pet show a few years ago and had a blast. The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce does a great job with the pet show — just like they do with all their events.”

As in years past, the pets will compete in a variety of categories, from smallest and largest to owner look-alike. But the biggest draw for most participating in the pet show is just having one more reason to turn out in a festive atmosphere where they and fellow pet-lovers can bring their furry friends to socialize and show off on New Year’s Day.

“I’m excited about seeing everybody bringing in the new year with their pets,” said McCann.

“However, I’m not looking forward to being heckled by my own staff at the show,” he admitted, alluding to a circumstance which Coastal Point staffers see all too rarely each year.

They will be among the hundreds who gather around the pet show venue on the first day of 2007 to celebrate pets and kick off the new year with some festive fun — all for a good cause.