As an event producer, I hear about a lot of interesting and unusual events to raise money for worthy causes. So it was not out of the ordinary when I heard, “We’ll get a bunch of wiener-dogs and race them in the amphitheater.” I was not phased, just skeptical, to say the least. But after emceeing the inaugural Halloweener Derby in 2009, I was hooked. With dachshund racing mixed with a hilariously cute pet costume contest, this event quickly became a crowd favorite. When my wife and I scheduled our honeymoon to Italy, I actually said, “Oh no! I’m going to miss the Halloweener Derby!”
The first year was a makeshift race course with too many openings, allowing the less competitively focused dogs to escape and run free. Now, the course has sponsor banners and clearly outlined race lanes. I am not sure what is more entertaining - grown adults yelling at the top of their lungs to encourage Mr. Bojangles to give it all he’s got against bitter rival Archie or the spectators screaming for the dog who crosses the finish line first. All in all, this is an event your friends back home will be shaking their heads at when you post photos to Facebook and Instagram, but they’ll be asking you for all the race play-by-plays. It is one of those things they just have to (and will want to) see for themselves.
The 6th Annual Halloweener Derby takes place Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Seaside Amphitheater. More information and how to register for the races and the costume contest is at halloweenerderby.org.
All events are sponsored by the Seaside Merchants.
For more information, visit seasidefl.com or facebook.com/seasideflorida.