The second attempt to hold the annual Woofstock Festival and Doggie Derby was the Friends of Animal Sanctuary (FOTAS) charm on Saturday morning.
The fundraiser was originally scheduled to take place in mid-April, but was moved due to weather conditions and COVID-19 concerns. Instead of mid-April, it began at 10:15 a.m. in Citizens Park with a parade of adoptable dogs and a parade of dogs that had been adopted from the Aiken County Animal Shelter.
Six dogs from the shelter were on site Saturday morning, all eager to meet people, be petted and find their future master and home.
WRDW-TV News 12 host Meredith Anderson said she hopes some of the adoptable parade dogs will be in the adopted parade next year.
Volunteer John Sauer said he and his wife attend many FOTAS events and love seeing dogs being adopted.
“Anytime we can adopt a dog, it’s just a great feeling,” he said.
Sauer said his wife started volunteering with the organization when they moved to Aiken in 2018.
“We moved to Aiken in 2018 and my wife was involved,” John said. “When I retired the following year, I dared to join it full time. I love dogs, so it seemed like a good thing to do.”
Some of the adopted dogs participated in several contests that took place after the parades.
The first contest held was a lookalike contest featuring two contestants, one of whom was a woman and a dog both dressed in Georgian football gear.
The second contest was a costume contest featuring basset hounds in rainbow costumes – June is Pride month – and a pug dressed as a bee.
A kissing contest followed the costume contest. It had the most entries but didn’t feature many kisses between dog and owner. The dogs seemed too distracted by all the people, sights and sounds around them.
The best lap contest that followed had only one entry.
The derbies for dogs began with a basset hound race. The four bassets in the race ran twice: once for training and once for prizes. The award-winning race had to be started twice when one of the dogs “false started” before the order to start the race. This basset, a female named Ellie Mae, won the race.
The next derbies held were small dog races presumably followed by larger dog races.
Derbies were not races in the traditional sense where the first dog to cross the finish line wins. It felt more like a contest to see which dog owner could get their pet’s attention and get it to the finish line instead of following the other dogs or watching the audience through the fence.