Pet festival details in the works

Planning for the La Jolla Pet Parade and Festival shifted into high gear last week as Promote La Jolla’s (PLJ’s) Promotions Committee considered logos, determined fees and established a preliminary budget for the first-time Village event.

The highlight of the May 16 festival, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Union Bank parking lot at the corner of Herschel Avenue and Silverado Street, is an hourlong pet parade at 10 a.m. Pet contests will follow at 11 a.m.

The event’s purpose is to promote local pet-friendly businesses such as Ark Antiques, Muttropolis and Sigi’s Boutique, and to raise funds for animal charities, committee members said.

But the fledgling event’s proper scope was at issue when about a dozen PLJ Promotions Committee members met to hash out details at a two-hour meeting on April 1 at La Jolla Rec Center.

“Benji is going to be the grand marshal,” said Promotions Committee chairwoman Nancy Warwick, who added that she wasn’t worried about getting enough dogs for the event or it not being “fun.”

“People like to show off their dogs,” agreed Elizabeth Davidson, president of the Ark Antiques consignment shop board.

But other committee members weren’t as sure the event would be high-profile enough.

“I think we need a more financially upscale approach,” cautioned Michelle Mitchell of Hallmark Galleries. “We’re looking for high-income people to take La Jolla seriously as a viable place to shop.”

Being a first-time event, Maudlin antiques owner and PLJ Vice President Jennifer Clark suggested that it might be best to keep it simple.

“We don’t have a lot of time or funds,” she said. “We have to keep it manageable.”

A half-dozen logos for marketing and T-shirts featuring a variety of fonts, colors and animal silhouettes were shown to committee members, who voted on their favorites. They opted against silhouettes, though one with paw prints was favored.

After considering higher sponsorship fees, given the recession, the committee arrived at a consensus on charging $50 for individual business sponsorships and $175 for booths.

“I’d rather have a lot of $50 donations than begging people for $100,” noted Shannon Turner of the Girard Avenue Collection.

Committee members decided that pet businesses such as dog groomers could share booths and split the cost if they like.

Considering how to tie the pet fest in with other Village businesses, chairwoman Warwick noted, “There should be a list of all the restaurants you can bring your pet to, including some on Prospect.”