Poochapalooza kicks off Strawberry Festival

Owner Joanne Graf shows off two of her dogs who vied for Poochapaloozas biggest dog. Security, left, is a Great Dane, while Merlin is half Dane. -
Owner Joanne Graf shows off two of her dogs who vied for Poochapaloozas biggest dog. Security, left, is a Great Dane, while Merlin is half Dane.
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MARYSVILLE Rainy weather and an early outing put the damper on the second Poochapalooza celebration last weekend as the 76th Annual Strawberry Festival kicked into high gear.
Weather was partially to blame for a vastly reduced turnout, according to organizers, who said the event will probably lose money. Last year the dog-centric carnival raised more than $4,000 to go to a new off-leash park somewhere in the Marysville area.
This year the Maryfest board moved the event up a week so it wouldnt conflict with the Market in the Park at Asbery Field. According to organizer Leslie Buell that move and the rainy weather caused a huge slump in paid attendance. People are free at the event but dogs cost owners $15 for their first pet and $5 for any others. They competed in several athletic and dancing competitions, but only 89 dogs came this year, compared to the 400 at last years event.
It was a slow, Buell said. I thought it would be bigger and better but the rain totally hurt us.
She had more vendors and volunteers lined up with better fencing than last year but people and pooches just didnt show up. There wont be any donations to an off-leash park this year as a result, Buell said, adding that Poochapalooza will take a loss.
Renee and Bill Reeve brought their two tiny Chihuahuas, Lucky and Daisy, out to the June 9 event, braving weather and cold temperatures.
The little Reeves snuggled up with their owners as Renee and Bill watched the Doggie Dance performance. The dogs tolerate the unpredictable Washington weather pretty well, Renee said, but she likes to be prepared.
I always take a blanket for them, she added.
Lucky, a four-month-old long-haired Chihuahua, was there to compete for Poochapaloozas smallest dog competition. His main rival? Daisy, a short-haired breed, who turned a year old June 2.
The competitions biggest dog is certainly not allowed to sleep on the bed, said owner John Barton of Smokey Point.
At four-and-a-half years of age and 240 pounds, Crash won the prize for biggest dog for the second year in a row. And Barton doesnt risk the English mastiffs health to stack the deck in his favor.
He eats about four cups of dog food a day, Barton said.
So are there any little or littler Crashes around to challenge their pop for the biggest dog title next year?
The kennel would love to have him (breed), Barton said, but he chooses not to. Crash has joint problems that have kept Barton from breeding his pet.
The Strawberry Festival will persevere however, and the Marysville Police Department said they will try to keep traffic flowing around town during the Grand Parade Saturday, June 16. This year the department will close State Avenue at 80th Street NE at 4:30 p.m. and will try to route cars away from busy Fourth Street, according to Sergeant Doug Lee.
Drivers on the freeway are encouraged to avoid the south end of town and continue north to the 88th Street exit and then proceed across State Avenue north of the closure. Traffic from the Fourth Street exit will be routed up Cedar to 80th NE, Lee said.
We encourage them to take the detour to the north, Lee said.

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