Schnauzerfest draws 1,200 dog owners with 630 canine kids in tow
By K.T. McKee KMcKee@RN-T.com Sep 28, 2019
They came from near and far, across oceans and datelines. They were 630 strong from 43 states, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico.
“This is Disney for schnauzers,” Hugh Tyner, founder of the first Schnauzerfest Rome, said Saturday as miniature, standard and giant schnauzers in a variety of colors and costumes paraded down Broad Street and participated in several activities — including a dance at the end of the evening.
And the next one is already in the works for Oct. 30 and 31, 2020, dubbed “Schnauzerween.”
“We’ll have a costume contest next year,” this year’s event coordinator, Louise Popham, said Friday before the “Meet, Pet and Greet” portion of the event kicked off that night. “We’re hoping next year will be cooler.”
Popham said Tyner, who has two schnauzers of his own, began putting this year’s festival together in February after learning of other such festivals around the world through Facebook and Instagram.
“It’s just amazing how this has come about,” said Popham, who enjoys having schnauzer “grandbabies” through her daughter Jennifer Golden in Douglasville. “Schnauzer owners are not your typical dog owners. Somebody is coming with 20 and doing Best in Show and teaching people how to show dogs. There are also rescue groups and puppies for sale.”
Paula Parker traveled from Lake Placid, Florida, with her 15-year-old, deaf miniature schnauzer after seeing Rome’s event on Instagram.
Her “Sunshine State Schnauzer” was riding comfortably in a red wagon, sporting a white polka-dotted bonnet with matching harness and skirt.
“She’s having a blast,” said Parker, a paraplegic who pulled the wagon behind her motorized wheelchair as high-pitched barking permeated the parade route from First Avenue and Broad Street to Ridge Ferry Park. “We were going to be pirates, but I left her pirate outfit at home. The neatest thing about this is I’ve been talking to a lot of these people on Instagram for years and I’m finally getting to meet them in person.”
Golden explained that schnauzers are a popular breed because they are intelligent, don’t shed, are hypoallergenic, very well-mannered, and are great with children.
“Everybody thinks they’re high energy and yippie, but our minis are very chill,” Golden said. “I will never have another kind of dog.”
Saturday’s event included agility and beauty contests, a talent show and an “Almost Billy Joel” concert provided by Tyner.
Barrie Turney, a Rome resident who has a goldendoodle and a chihuahua, said she was delighted to come upon the parade as it passed in front of Honeymoon Bakery.
“We meet for breakfast at Honeymoon every Saturday morning and this was the most pleasant surprise I could have expected,” said Turney, who was with her 2-year-old nephew. “Everybody’s been so nice and letting him pet the dogs. That’s so sweet. They’re a great group of people.”
Schnauzers!! Walking around Rome, GA downtown!!!
The journey of Hansel and Gretel to SchanuzerFest Rome through their eyes!!!
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