The past couple days, temperatures hovered near 90 degrees, but that didn’t stop people from showing their community pride at the Onsted Festival. There were numerous highlights including a car show, live music, magicians, a small petting zoo, and vendors selling their hand-crafted items. But during the dog days of summer, there’s nothing better than a good, old-fashioned pet parade!
Nineteen pets were proudly paraded down Main Street and around the corner to Village Park. Louie, the English Mastiff, easily won the largest dog award. When I asked Louie’s owner if Louie had been small as a puppy, his owner grinned and said, “When I took him home, he was already bigger than my cowboy boot!”
This wasn’t just an event for dogs. Peanut, the ferret joined in the fun and seemed to enjoy all the attention he garnered. It was harder to gauge what Raft, the turtle was thinking as he was transported through the crowd on a tray. He must have been curious, though, because his head was out of his shell most of the time! There was also one cat and a prairie dog.
Smiles and laughter were abundant as the crowd cooed over each precious pet. But nothing got tongues wagging like Lisa Bressi who wheeled in her taxidermized chihuahuas, Satchel and Simone, on a wagon that was transformed into a cloud. The dogs wore white, feathery wings and Lisa was dressed as an angel. It was no surprise she won a blue ribbon for Best Costume, sharing the title with a Dalmatian dressed as a fire hydrant.
In the Onsted area, taxidermy is common. Folks often have deer heads and fish hanging in their living rooms, but to take pets to a taxidermist seems …unusual. “Satchel and Simone were together over 10 years and Simone became very dependent on Satchel,” Lisa explained. “When Satchel passed, I was worried about the impact on Simone, so I decided to preserve him. Unfortunately, it took a year to get him back. I knew people that had taken in elephants, zebras, and bears and got them back sooner than I got my dog back. When I was finally able to bring Satchel home, Simone went right over and sat with him.”
When Simone died, Lisa made another decision. “They belonged together. I loved these dogs. They were my babies. Now, they just look like they are sleeping peacefully.”
You never know what you’ll see at the Onsted Festival! Did I mention The Big Banana Car whizzing around town giving rides to delighted children and adults alike? Who knows what they’ll come up with next year!
The Onsted Festival is made possible by volunteers. It is truly a labor of love. Festival committee members are: Sam Lafata, Pam Robotham, Mark Robotham, Ann Rudd, Dave Rudd, Libby Chase, Mike Chase, Bob Curley, Shawn Scott, Sherry Costelli, and Reno Costelli.
If you went to the 2021 Onsted Festival, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!