Sunday was the 5th annual Bethel dog show. The town seemed abuzz with some kind of hidden energy. Eric and I had journeyed into down so he could purchase groceries at A&C, one of the two grocery stores in town. We had wandered the isles for some time, evaluating the choices that had so much financial implications. I kept my distance from Eric as he took photos of the prices. At the end, he eyed the cache.
"Think we can do it, or should we call a cab?" he asked. The hospital had given us $5 cab vouchers. The cab companies were subsidized by the government, so any ride in town cost only $5 per person, no gratuity required. However, we were running low on vouchers, and were thus conserving our trips. The grocery store was a little over a mile away, so it seemed relatively manageable on this relatively calm day. We decided to walk. Eric filled his rucksack with the heaviest of goods and we split the rest. On the way back, we passed a man, possibly a YK employee) chipping away the ice on the boardwalk.
"Dog show's today," he said as we passed. I'd been hearing about it for some time. I was told it was quite the spectacle. On the way home, Eric stopped to take a few pictures of some graffiti on a dumpster.
The dog show was entertaining. I was surprised to find the cultural center packed with people. I found a seat in the back row next to Mark, the LifeMed medic. Before long, there were no seats left--people began lining the walls. Dogs barked from backstage. There were numerous categories, including toys, working dogs, and sporting dogs. Also included were categories such as "Best Tail Wag," "Best Trick," "Best costume," "Most Independent," and "Most Obediant." Of the latter, there were no entries.
Bethel residents brought out their dogs, marched them around the room, and lined up. The panel of judges (who received much applause on their entry) stood alert and appeared studious with their clipboards. Typically there were five or six dogs in every category. Aside from two pure bred pitbulls, a black lab, and a pure bred huskey, the "Bethel breed" dominated the population, the star being a huskey dauchsund-mix. The audience clapped their hands enthusiastically for the winners, roared with laughter when dogs escaped their collars and found more interesting things to do than perform, and took plenty of pictures. The winners came away with tiny trophies, dog biscuits, and medals. Everyone--winners, losers, and audience members, left smiling, waving and hugging each other goodbye after the event. It was another example of a small community coming together to create an event that was simply pure fun.