PugFest will raise money, awareness for pet rescue efforts

Randi Tucker thought she was being creative the first year she brought her pug to the annual PugFest event dressed up as a "puppermint" in a candy-colored costume made of red-and-white paper plates adorned with cellophane.

But in the three years she's been involved with PugFest, she's seen enough imaginative creations during the annual costume contest to make her rethink her own talents. Pug owners have come up with everything from a "pugferfish," a take on a pufferfish, to pups riding in a Mardi Gras float and "love pugs" cuddling in an Italian gondola.

"People get so creative, and it's not just hand-making a costume," said Tucker, volunteer spokeswoman for Southeast Pug Rescue and Adoption Inc. "A lot of these people make a costume for themselves that matches their pugs, and then they even make background scenery to go along with it."

The festival is about a lot more than just ogling adorable dogs, though. The event is the biggest annual fundraiser for SEPRA, a rescue group that places stray and abandoned pugs into private foster homes. The group is run entirely by volunteers, and all proceeds from PugFest go toward taking care of the animals and helping with veterinary costs, Tucker said.

This year, PugFest will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children under 12 years old. Pets are admitted free.

The PugFest parade will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 28 at the High Museum, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. For more information, call 770-887-9741 or visit www.rescuepug.com.

- By Lifestyle Editor Shelley Mann

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