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The Hamptons Are Going To The Dogs

Originally Posted: August 10, 2009

The first annual Family Fido Festival will take place on Saturday, Aug. 22. Image courtesy of FFF

Bridgehampton - A cold, wet nose benefit for the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center and the Hayground School Scholarship Fund. Calling all kids and dogs! The first annual Family Fido Festival will take place on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Hayground School on Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. No dog will be turned away no matter how ugly or weird. There are prizes, in fact, for the funniest-looking dogs, dogs with the shortest legs, longest tail, worst breath, best costume, biggest nose, longest ears - whatever. The categories are endless, including the dog and owner who look most alike. Doggie registration will be at Hayground between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., competition from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m..

The idea for the dog fair was adopted from the benefit pet fairs held years ago at Hickory Hill, the Virginia residence of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. "They were such fun,' recalls Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith. "Kids could bring any pets - there were a lot of turtles. Art Buchwald was the judge and one year he brought a worm on a string." A survey of pets on the East End, however, revealed many more dogs than pet turtles - or worms. "We decided to make it just dogs," says Jason Neimark, owner of the Hampton Pet Club. "We had visions of a hamster massacre or cats streaking away never to be seen again."

And who to judge? A fantastic trio, starring Mercedes Ruehl, the award winning Broadway and Hollywood actor who recently appeared at Bay Street; Mitchell Kriegman, co-owner of East Hampton and Wainscott Studios and award winning creator of children's television programs for the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and PBSKids; and our very own Dan Rattiner, award winning writer, author and dashing founder of Dan's Papers. Emceeing the event will be local radio personality, Walker Vreeland.

Kids of all ages will have their own special share of the fair from 11 a.m. on with art projects, jugglers, face painters, Muppet characters from Sesame Street, Flying Disc Dogs and, for lucky older kids, the chance to fly through the air on a trapeze. Live, interactive music will be presented throughout the day - Sandpiper Music Together for the youngest, the Escola de samba BOOM from Sagg Main Beach and, to wrap it all up, the sizzling Hot 8 New Orleans Brass Band. Food and drink will be supplied, so far, by Annie's Organic Café and Market, Isbre, Gloria of the Hamptons, Provisions, Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs, Foody's, the Hampton Coffee Company and Citarella.

The price? $25 per adult, $15 for kids over two (under two free) and $10 per dog. More information call 631-537-0616. Rain date is Sunday, Aug. 23.

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