By Ashley Dunn
WESLEY CHAPEL — On Oct. 31, children of all ages will don costumes and ask for treats. But kids aren’t the only ones who will be having all the fun this month.
The Shops at Wiregrass is inviting dogs and their owners to participate in Dogtoberfest, which will take place at the mall, located at SR 56 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, on Oct. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m.
“It’s one of those things — I think it’s going to be pretty big,” said Chad Doritan, the mall’s marketing director.
Dogs are allowed to stroll on the sidewalks of the outdoor mall, and Doritan said many pet owners bring their furry friends to the shopping center with them.
During the mall’s concert series from March to May, “the dogs were everywhere,” Doritan said, and many were dressed up. On a beach-themed night, one pooch wore a doggie wetsuit, flippers and had its own surfboard.
That’s how the idea for Dogtoberfest came about. People seemed to enjoy bringing their costumed pets to the mall, so mall officials figured why not have an event for that in October when temperatures are a bit cooler, Doritan said.
There will be a Doggie Costume Contest, during which more than $300 in prizes will be awarded. Costumes aren’t limited to a Halloween theme; dogs can be dressed in any outfit. All dogs in costumes will receive a medal courtesy of 365 Caffe Italiano. There will also be a live concert by The Rhythm Hounds, a professional photographer to take photos of the dogs, and dog adoption organizations. So far, The Shops at Wiregrass has teamed up with No More Homeless Pets, an all-volunteer adoption coalition based in Hillsborough County. Doritan said he is still trying to find dog-related vendors.
“It’s just a fun thing,” he said of the event. “Come out with your dog and listen to music.”
For more information about Dogtoberfest, visit www.theshopsatwiregrass.com.
By Ashley Dunn