The Rotary Club of Forked River will hold its second annual Doggie Derby 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 at Jones Road Park in Forked River.
The Rotary fundraiser drew more than 1,200 visitors and their dogs last year, with the money raised funding college scholarships, Thanksgiving dinners for those in need and holiday gifts for children in the community.
"So many people have pets; you go by any park and so many people are walking their dogs," said Tony Angona, event organizer. "We want to build it to be a nice, warm, healthy family activity. We hope to get the community to come out to enjoy the event and your neighbors."
Admission for the Doggie Derby is $5 per person. There will be four dog contests held: Most Happy, Best Dressed, Best Trick, and Best Owner Look-alike. The cost to enter each contest is $2.
The judges this year will be members of the Lacey Township Committee, as well as schools Superintendent Dr. Sandra Brower and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Vanessa Clark. Angona said Township Committee members served as judges last year and got the biggest kick out of the Best Kisser contest, which was not carried over to this year.
"They had a big laugh about who was going to be the member of the committee who had to kiss the dog," said Angona, who said the contest really involved the dogs kissing their owners. "The Township has been very generous, giving us use of the park and the stage that's used for Lacey Day."
Besides the contests, there will be several demonstrations, including the Barnegat Township police dog, a bomb-sniffing dog and Endless Pawsibilities dog training. Angona said they will rotate between contests and demonstrations so people will have a chance to see everything throughout the day.
Like last year, there will be pumpkin and face painting. A new feature is a photographer who will take pictures of people and their pets and post the pictures for online ordering of photos or photo items. A caricaturist also will be on hand to draw dogs and their owners.
A variety of food will be sold, including hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, pizza, funnel cakes, kettle corn and ice cream.
More than 40 vendor tables will be set up, selling or demonstrating dog paraphernalia, or promoting local service organizations.
"We had more than 1,200 people and several hundred dogs last year," said Angona. "We were very surprised; we never suspected we would have as many as we had."
The Doggie Derby is turning out to be a very good fundraiser for the Rotary, Angona said. The money raised contributed to the efforts that helped them supply Thanksgiving dinners to 200 families and holiday gifts to more than 500 children last year.
Adequate parking will be available at the park. For more information about the Doggie Derby, visit the Rotary's website.