Four-Legged Friends Flock to Plaza Bella for Wagapalooza

The event featured pet contests, a pet parade and vendors.

With a bounty of homemade dog treats to tempt them, Kathryn Hanaghan's booth was a winner among the four-legged guests attending Wagapalooza Saturday, March 31, at Plaza Bella in Valrico.

But their two-legged companions also perused booths featuring handmade dog toys, custom-made doggie outfits and a variety of other pet accessories.

"It turned out very nice," said Debbie Ploor, owner of Orange Accessories, who helped organize the fourth annual Wagapalooza at Plaza Bella. "We have 12 vendors and four rescue groups represented, and there's been a nice crowd of people and their pets."

Kathleen Cronin of Cronin Creations traveled all the way from Largo to display her unique knitted dog sweaters and dog and cat toys.

"It's a nice day and a great opportunity to display my items for pet owners," said Cronin.

"It's a cute event," said Dena Craig of Adorable Pets by Dena pet-grooming studio in Valrico. Craig was on hand distributing free pet scarves and publicizing one of the newest pet trends -- feather extensions for dogs.

One table featured a variety of pet baskets, a doggie birthday cake made by Hanaghan and other items to be raffled. Proceeds from the raffle went to the pet rescue groups gathered at Wagapalooza on Saturday.

But the true stars of the day were the dogs of every size and breed who paraded around the plaza parking lot in costume and competed in pet contests.

Diane Dillon brought her red poodle, Memphis, to Wagapalooza because she said it sounded like a good opportunity for her dog to socialize with other dogs.

Memphis ended up placing in two of the contest. He won first place for best trick after demonstrating his dancing abilities. He also received second place for owner look-alike.

Hannah Goldberg and Kloe took top prize for owner look-alike. They came to Wagapalooza wearing matching leopard outfits.

The hands-down best tail wagger was Kronk, owned by Jessica Kidd. It was hard to miss the great dane's enthusiastic tail.

Best costume went to Penny, owned by Cameron Givens, who sported a pink polk-dotted bikini. Second placed went to Moby, owned by Keith Starks, and third place sent to Bella and B2, owned by Roz Creager.

Best old-timer, 14-year-old Dillon, owned by Holly Franklin, slept through the announcement that he'd won, as Franklin cradled him in her arms.

"It's been a busy day for him," explained Franklin, owner of The Cheddar Biscuit restaurant in Plaza Bella. "First he got a bath and then he chowed down on a bunch of cheddar biscuits, his favorite. Now he's sleepy."



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