CARY — A whole lot of canine cuteness is sure to be on display at the first Puppapalooza dog show and expo this weekend.
The family-friendly event at White Tiger Taekwondo on Northwest Maynard Road is open to the public and will offer activities for two-legged and four-legged visitors alike.
Outside, a Bernese Mountain Dog named Memphis will give children cart rides around the parking lot.
Puppapalooza is the brainchild of Jackie Kelly, owner of Jackie’s Basics and Beyond Dog Training in Cary, and Rondy McKee, owner of White Tiger Taekwondo.
“Rondy told me I needed to go bigger,” said Kelly, who trained McKee’s pomapoo, Grazzie. “She said I needed to be known for an event and she had the perfect space to hold it.”
The main event on Sunday will be the 12 competition divisions that include everything from “Ball Catch” and “Best Vocals” to “Teacup Agility” and “Dog Tired.” The “Puppy Sit” is for the youngest competitors.
Humans can get in on the act in the “Lookalikes” contest.
The games will be judged by a celebrity panel that includes Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore and Officer Phil Humphries of the Cary K9 unit.
Visitors can also collect “Pawsports.” Those with a completed Pawsport will earn a spin at the Ultimate Prize Wheel, where every spinner will be a winner.
Kelly hinted that there might be some dog treats given out, too.
Elsewhere, pooches will mug for the camera at a makeshift glamour-shots studio. Humans can be in the picture, too, but only if the star agrees. A roaming photographer will also take candid shots.
The unique layout of the White Tiger facility accommodates spectators who want to watch the stage show while other activities are going on. Supervised child care will be available for restless little ones.
Unlike other shows where dogs have to qualify by meeting strict requirements, Puppapalooza is for mutts and pure breeds alike: no training required.
“We want to bring the community together with dogs,” Kelly said. “People have asked me what will happen if their dog gets there and doesn’t do anything. I tell them they may win!”
Kelly hopes to make Puppapalooza an annual event.
“It will be nothing but fun,” she said.
Dogs can test for the American Kennel Club Good Citizen certification during Puppapalooza. Those who don’t pass might consider an etiquette lesson from Kelly.
One special room will be reserved for dogs who need a forever home. Boston Terrier Rescue of North Carolina, Love Mutts Rescue and Greyhound Friends of North Carolina hope to find adoptive families for the dogs they bring to Puppapalooza.
“We want everyone who has a dog to come,” said McKee, “and everyone who doesn’t have a dog to come and leave with one.”