Smyrna Opera House's first Dog Daze fundraiser welcomes two- and four-legged visitors Saturday, June 19 for a variety of contests, demonstrations, and even a 2K run/walk.

Four-legged friends are taking over Smyrna in an effort to raise money for their two-legged buddies. The Smyrna Opera House welcomes people and their best furry friends to its first Dog Daze fundraiser from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 19.

Executive Director David Keller said the venue generally doesn’t have a summer fundraiser but was looking for ways to boost its general operating fund. The fundraiser idea came from Judy McKinney-Cherry, an Opera House board member and member of its fundraising committee.

They’re trying something new by moving part of the fun outdoors, she said. They’re also targeting people who are new to the area or people without kids, such as retirees and young couples, who don’t have kids and who adore their pets.

“Everybody loves their dog, so what better venue than to have an opportunity for people to bring their dogs out and show them off or spend some time with them. Behind kids, dogs are it,” McKinney-Cherry said.

For its first time out, the fundraiser has a lot to offer. The day starts with a 2K walk around the Opera House area and continues with K9 demonstrations by the Smyrna and Clayton police dogs. Visitors can get a photo of their favorite pooch or pose with them for $10 per sitting, or check out the “Puppyratzi” photo contest/art show inside the Opera House.

Those more interested in harnessing their canine’s ways can enroll in an obedience class. Basic obedience techniques are on for 10:30 a.m. Rally obedience will teach dogs commands such as turn, halt, and go faster or slower, and also is at 10:30 a.m. For the daring dogs — and humans — an agility course will test speed and wits at 10:30 a.m.

The “Yo-Dog” Dog Show at 11:30 a.m. is the place for those four-legged attention grabbers. For $10, attendees can enter their dogs in any or all of the show’s categories: Prettiest dog, silliest trick, best lap dog more than 50 pounds, dog/owner look-a-like, most creative costume, best tail wag, best vocalist and finest display of unrestrained happiness.

For those who have lost a pet, a memorial balloon launch will close out the day’s events. Reverend Jim Hawkins will hold a brief ceremony blessing the animals that have passed, after which the biodegradable balloons will be released.

McKinney-Cherry said for all the emphasis on dogs, the event really is a community social.

“What a great way to bring some of the new residents into he area into town and mix it up with some of the more historic families,” she said.

No aggressive dogs are allowed; owners will be asked to remove aggressive dogs from the grounds. Proof of shots is required for all participants at registration table. If the shots are not up-to-date, the dog will not be admitted.

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