By LOIS KINDLE
Jen’s Markets & Events is kicking off its first market of the season at Little Harbor with Halloweenie, an amusing costume contest for dogs and cats. In fact, any animal is welcome, even a bird or a pig!
“I love critters, and all are welcome to enter as long as they’re in costume,” said Jennifer McCafferty, the market’s owner and organizer. “This is a fundraiser for C.A.R.E., so the more the merrier.”
Emceed and DJ’d by local entertainer Jim Billings, Halloweenie is set for Oct. 12 at the Little Harbor Market, 536 Bahia Beach Blvd., Ruskin. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. and the competition begins promptly with a pet parade before a panel of three-to-five judges at 1:30. You can pre-register online at www.jens-market.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost is $10 per entry, payable in cash or by check made payable to C.A.R.E. only. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization. “This event is intended to support C.A.R.E.’s capital campaign to build a new, modernized shelter,” McCafferty said.
The Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort no-kill animal shelter provides transitional housing and medical care for neglected, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. “The community has always been good to us, and we appreciate that Jen chose us to benefit from the event,” said Penny Smith, C.A.R.E. board president. “Animal costume events are always a lot of fun, and we hope to get a great turnout.”
Last year’s inaugural Halloweenie drew 21 entries. This year, McCafferty hopes for at least 30. There will be trophies and prizes in three categories: Most Creative Costume, Best Human and Pet Couple and Best Overall Presentation.
“I was one of the judges last year,” said Apollo Beach resident Phyllis Gannon, a C.A.R.E. board member. “There were really great costumes, the weather was nice, and there was a good turnout. Afterward, I enjoyed going through the market, where I purchased a pair of harem pants. It was fun. I’ll be there again.”
The market itself, a crafts fair of more than 40 vendors, is set up behind Harborside Suites Hotel at Little Harbor Resort, opens at noon and closes at 5 p.m. Visitors will find all kinds of handmade products, local honey, fresh produce and microgreens, jewelry, freshly prepared foods, coastal apparel and more. Admission is free.
“This is our fifth season at Little Harbor,” McCafferty said. “It’s a beautiful venue with a cobble stone walkway along the marina. It’s popular with Little Harbor residents, locals and visitors alike.
The Market at Little Harbor takes place the second Saturday of the month, October through April.