Critters to rival even Ellie Mae

Humane Society's Critterfest brings crowd, pets of all kinds

Merlin checks out the crowd at Critterfest.

Merlin checks out the crowd at Critterfest.

The annual Blount County Humane Society Critterfest was held earlier this spring and drew a crowd of pet lovers and their animals to Pearson Springs Park.

The May 23 event brought together animal rescue groups, personnel from Maryville Police Department and Blount County Sheriff’s office and a variety of vendors. The crowd was entertained by pet Olympians and a costume contest for animals.

Terri Lane, special events coordinator for the Blount County Humane Society, said turnout for the event was good. “We had a very large crowd all day long. We estimate at least 5,000 people came out. The parking lot was overflowing. We had a lot of new vendors this year and a lot of new things for children. We had demonstrations from the Maryville Police Department and Blount County Sheriff’s Office K-9 units,” she said. “We had a large children’s area with large slides and inflatables, games with prizes, a train ride and a pet contest that went on all day long.”

Lane said there were also Olympic games for dogs. “It was mostly agility challenges like how many balls they could catch,” she said. “We also had a full agility course set up.”

Lane said one event that was a crowd favorite was the costume contest, which included “The Village Pits” from Break the Chain Pitbull Rescue. “They dressed them up like the Village People, and it was so funny and so cute,” Lane said.

Lane said there was a silent auction to raise money, and Chris and Candice Cagey of Maryville’s Avenue C Band arranged for four bands to play all day. “We had around 16 rescue groups with different breeds of pets for adoption,” she said. “The Humane Society had our adoptable animals out there, too, so it was a very busy day.”

Lane said the Humane Society had more than 100 volunteers working to coordinate the event and make it happen. “We’re real service-oriented. We even had couple of guys going around with water tanks filling up rescue groups fresh water bowls and doggy pools,” she said. “Dogs were rolling around in those things.”

Lane said everyone was exhausted by the end of the day. “But it’s for a great cause, and we believe in supporting other rescue groups. We want to help all of them to find homes for their pets. It’s all about helping animals,” she said. “It’s not a huge fundraiser, but we look at it as a friend-raiser. It’s just a great event we want to do for the community.”

Ann Maurino, fundraiser coordinator, was pleased with the turnout. “It’s nice to see different breeds and to see people bringing their dogs to interact,” she said. “We had real good crowd. We had new vendors that did very well, and the music was great. Everybody seemed like they were having a really good time.”

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