4-legged friends gather for 2nd Fridays Furry 5K and 1-Mile Family Dog Walk

One of the participating pooches in Friday night’s canine festivities at 2nd Fridays downtown (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The north end of this month’s 2nd Fridays event featured furry friends of all shapes and sizes at the Furry 5K run, the 1-Mile Family Dog Walk and  the Pooch Parade and Dog Show. The dog-themed events had an added benefit of helping the Cullman County Animal Shelter, which brought five dogs available for adoption after every dog it brought last month found a new home with an attendee.

Dwain Floyd, assistant director for Cullman County Animal Control, said the dog-related events at 2nd Fridays have had an incredible impact on the shelter.

“We’ve had a lot of people who we’ve never seen before come through the shelter in the past month since the last 2nd Fridays. All the dogs we brought last month got adopted. We’ve got five more with us today, and already (as of 6:15) someone’s on their way to pick up Abigail, so things are going really well.”

At 6:30, Depot Park’s main event kicked off with the Furry 5K run and the 1-Mile Family Dog Walk immediately afterward. While the mile was not competitive, the top male and female 5K participants each won free wings at Buffalo Wild Wings for a year. The top 10 male and female participants all received medals, and all 5K runners were given race T-shirts for the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s Woof Local campaign. Organizers didn’t know Friday night how many people completed, as participants were being accepted until the very last minute, but said the numbers should be totaled within a few days.

The park was a hotspot for dogs and dog lovers even after the 5K and Mile Dog Walk, as Prestigious Pets helped owners register their dogs for the Pooch Parade and Dog Show that took place later in the evening. Master Groomer Melody Basch said the show was completely free to enter and hosted seven different categories in which dogs could compete:

– Best Six Legs: judged the dog-owner pair that demonstrated the most uniform walking without the dog pulling or trying to run away

– Sassiest: judged the dogs for most attitude

– Waggiest Tail: judged dogs for how excitedly they wag their tails

– Biggest Smile: looked for dogs with big toothy grins or sweet expressions

– Best Biscuit-Catcher: had dogs compete to catch biscuits from the farthest distance

– Best Kisser: judged puppy kisses between the dog and its owner

– Best Vocal Performance: judged which dog could “sing” the best

To add to the festivities, the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce held a free Hay Bale Toss, in which visitors could try to win prizes from Alabama Farm Credit by throwing 50-60 pounds of hay the farthest distance. This is the Chamber’s newest addition to the list of competitions it has held at 2nd Fridays, joining other contests like cakewalks and watermelon seed spitting. Next month will feature a mechanical bull at the Festhalle and a corn hole tournament in Depot Park. The tournament will have two different divisions – Pros and Joes – and the Chamber hopes to see at least 60-80 teams this year.

Kay Shabel – currently serving as chair of the Cullman Area Chamber Board of Directors – offered a few words about this month’s festival, saying, “We’ve got great bands, lots of fun, lots of community. Great food and great fellowship. This draws people from everywhere, and it’s just a great event!”

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Heather Mann