Fur and feathers one and all, SunRiver Pet Festival is a ball

Ricky the English Bulldog | Photo courtesy of SunRiver

SAINT GEORGE – Calling all animal lovers! The fourth annual SunRiver Pet Festival is right around the corner.

Founded in 2009, the Pet Festival is one of few SunRiver events open to not only residents, but all members of the public. Attendance and interest in the festival has grown significantly since its debut. Last year, SunRiver staff saw a turnout of approximately 600 and are expecting even higher numbers this year.

Visitors of the four-legged variety are also encouraged to attend, as there is truly something for every member of the family at the festival. While dogs are most common, cats, birds, horses, rodents and even exotic pets such as tarantulas have been seen making an appearance. Many merchants with animal-oriented booths bring their own furry or feathered friends.

“We have vendors covering pets from nose to tail, as well as several focusing on people,” said Sandy Naylor, communications coordinator for SunRiver. “We have a much broader scope with our animals than most pet events.”

One of the festival’s main attractions is the silent art auction, which debuted last year to an overwhelmingly positive response. Artwork is provided by Washington County students of all ages and the members of SunRiver’s Photography, Craft and Pottery clubs. A trio of contests will also be held: Cutest Pet, in which contestants’ photos were submitted online, and the Natural Fur and Best Dressed fashion shows, to be judged live. The winners will receive prize baskets including treats, toys, leashes and gift certificates.

“The fashion shows are always (a highlight),” said Naylor. “It’s so fun to see everyone wearing huge smiles as they stroll their pets down the red carpet.”

Admission to the festival, located in the SunRiver community at 4275 South Country Club Drive in St. George, is free. Proceeds benefit P.A.W.S., who will also be hosting a pet adoption, and the SunRiver Dog Park. The event is scheduled for April 14 and starts at 9 a.m.

For contest entry and more information:  SunRiver Pet Festival website.

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Copyright 2012 St. George News

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