This past Saturday (10/13) was the Vinton Fall Festival. The best way to describe it would be an outdoor shindig where selected streets are lined with vendors and a few of the shops on those specific streets are open and sometimes have different sales. The school has kid-oriented things, there’s a petting zoo, a monster truck ride, and live entertainment.
Jamie and I had decided that we would walk down to the festival using the path that we used to take for Firefly and Hobbes to walk out their crazy before going to class at Field of Dreams. Rhonda and Nanny decided that it would be easier to walk with us than to have Allen drive them down to the festival with Rhonda pointing out that she needs to “push” herself and it’ll be good for her. Jamie and I tried multiple times to get them to drive to the festival. Sure, it was approximately a mile walk, but that’s from our house to the festival area. That didn’t include all the walking around, standing around, going into the thrift shop that sells books, and it didn’t include walking back to the house.
We constantly got way ahead of them while walking Firefly, so we’d stop and wait on them. Nanny would tell us to “not worry about the old folks” and I did apologize a couple of times, pointing out that the pace we were going was good for Firefly to keep her mind focused before she was to be immersed in this festival.
Firefly was also dressed as a dinosaur. Jamie kept changing the name from dino-dog to wigglesaurus to other hilarious names.
A lot of people were enamored with Fly, a lot of little kids came up asking if they could pet her. Jamie would kneel down and hold Firefly’s collar explaining that he didn’t want her to get excited and jump. Only one parent pulled their child away and that’s ok. I completely understand that the parent was a little put-off by Jamie trying to be conscious of a small child being in close proximity to our rambunctious wiggle-butt.
We lost Nanny, Allen, and Rhonda shortly after making our way into the festival. Before we lost them, Jamie did remind them that we won’t be with them 100% of the time because he needs to focus all of his attention on Firefly. He’s not ignoring them on purpose, it’s just that he’s trying to pay attention to Fly.
They had a little shooting-range type thing with a bunch of people dressed up in Wild West gear. It was really neat to see and quite a few of those people were grinning and making comments about how cute Dino Dog was. Firefly didn’t flinch when the guns went off, she just kept trucking along and I think once she looked over to where they were like she wanted to go over and make friends.
I went over to one of the vendors to check out their wares (because I like ceramic pumpkins) and Jamie was hanging out, working on Fly’s sit-stay. One of the women from the Dalmation rescue came up and started talking with him. We found out that she’s a friend of our friend AJ. Rhonda showed up, pointed out that she lost Nanny and Allen, and we shared photos of our dogs while the Dalmation Rescue lady showed us pictures of her dogs.
The lady went back off to her booth to help and we walked a little farther on, Firefly and this beautiful pittie girl who looks so much like Ginger (the Vicktory dog) and Jamie was like “dude, your dog is so pretty! And she looks like Ginger, the Vick dog.” I’m not sure if he understood it, and I told him she was adorable (she had her toe nails painted bright pink too!) and he was, from what I guess, pretty relieved that we both had the dogs meet at an angle and I got in front of Firefly and told her that was enough face-to-face meeting. He mentioned that he really appreciated that someone else does that as well and understands that not all dogs are ok with that form of greeting.
We were working on heading farther along when a gentleman stopped us and asked if we were going to enter Miss Flygirl into the dog costume contest. We said we were interested, but weren’t sure where it would be held nor when. He happily informed us that it was going to be at the stage area (near the farmer’s market) and the sign-up was at 11 and the contest should start at 11:15. We thanked him and headed that way. We let Rhonda know where we were going, they said it was fine and headed along to look for the little thrift shop.
The gentleman who informed us about when the contest was happened to be one of the judges, so we made our way back to the stage where there were a few dogs and their parents waiting for the sign up sheets. One little boy honed in on Firefly and asked if he could pet her and she just took it so well. The little boy’s mom got Jamie’s attention while he got distracted by someone and let him know that her son was autistic but loves dogs. He gets super excited by dogs and I think Jamie just told her that was fine, if he wants to spend his time with Firefly, that was cool, he’d just make sure that Fly didn’t accidentally jump on him or something.
When the forms came out, Jamie was working with Fly, the little boy was loving all over her, and I filled out the forms for Firefly. Everything went pretty smoothly, one of the dogs decided she did not want to walk any more and just plopped on the ground. The little boy gave Fly a pat on the head and told her good luck and rooted for her along with a few other people who fell in love with her.
I didn’t think that the contest went on as long as it did, but after the judges figured things out and names were called, it took about an hour. Miss Firefly won 1st Place for tricks and we’re still not really sure how that happened. The only thing we can figure out is that the judges were walking around and watching all the dogs who were dressed up, and they had the opportunity to see Miss Fly in action with all those distractions.
The gentleman who asked us if we’d be entering the contest ended up being the Mayor, so that was pretty cool. He was carrying around his little dog (who had on a sweater!), we thanked him for letting us know about the time and told him we totally weren’t expecting first place. I had made a joke earlier about how Jamie should take Firefly center-stage because I have terrible luck winning things and he won the Maru book through the Roanoke Times Happy Wag blog. I think the Mayor was just highly entertained by a couple of dorks with a dino-dog.
We hung out at the same area so we could let the little boy know that Firefly won. We agreed to email some photos I had taken to this one lady and wrote down her email address (which I need to do) while we waited on the “train ride” that was being done for kids because the little boy was having a blast. (it was a guy who had made these little cars out of plastic drums, painted them, put wheels and steering columns on, had a couple that looked like racecars, and hooked everything to a riding lawnmower).
The little boy was really excited that Firefly won first place, he gave her lots of lovins, and his mom thanked us. It was really cool. Then we hit the Doggie-Doos booth, which was part of the “winnings” and Firefly got a voucher for a free spa day. And we started walking around to try to find Rhonda, Nanny, and Allen.
I got a text message saying that they were at the Farmer’s Market while a lady who was pulling stuff out of her shop to set up on a table outside asked if Firefly was a therapy dog because she was so well behaved. One guy was like “hey, it’s that dogasaur!” and Jamie said “dino dog.” The guy laughed and said “I knew I got it wrong.” I found it funny and the guy took it in stride. A few people congratulated Firefly on winning, some people had to come give wiggle-butt scritches, and we made our way back down to the farmer’s market. A little while later, I got a text saying that they were going to start heading home and they were sure we’d meet up with them on the way so we started back.
Rhonda’s leg started acting up so they stopped and were able to find a set of stairs to hang out at, I stayed with them while Jamie ran with Firefly part of the way home and power-walked the rest of the way. Jamie put Fly in the backseat and came back for us. Rhonda got the passenger seat, I sat in the back and pulled Fly onto my lap so Nanny and Allen could squish themselves in. It was about a three-minute drive (max.) and we got home with no problems.