10th Annual Pet-Palooza Draws Thousands of People for Contests and Fun to Benefit Orland Township Pet Pantry
Jeff Vorva Times Correspondent
The Stuber family of Orland Park adopted a few Yorkies through the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, and they won first and second place in the Pet-Palooza Best Dressed contest.
Pat Stuber, dressed as Snow White to accompany Tinker Bell, who won the contest, and Tinker Bell won the contest. Stuber’s daughter Jaclyn dressed festively for fall and Pumpkin, who was adopted a week prior, finished second.
“The dog I entered last year passed away,” Pat said. “So we adopted Tinker Bell and won this year.”
This is the first year that the Stubers have dressed up.
“We lived in Florida, and we love Disney and dressing up,” Pat said.
The 10th Pet-Palooza Race, hosted by the Township of Orland on its grounds, was held on September 23 and approximately 2,000 people and an unknown number of pets showed up for food, music , purchases, games and contests.
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Proceeds benefited the Township Pet Pantry.
Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady has enjoyed watching the growth of what he and his staff cooked up over a decade ago.
“Take a look, man,” O’Grady said. “It’s great to see the community and everyone with their pets, families and kids. The seniors are here.
The Orland Township Pantry was a first of its kind and grew in part thanks to Pet-Palooza.
“Pet-Palooza was intended to support the pet food pantry,” O’Grady said. “So we had no idea it would be this big. But the response from the community, the number of pets that have been adopted over the years, the number of sellers that have come forward and supported it has been fantastic.
He added that some of the money the vendors make also goes to the pantry. Several thousand dollars are raised by Pet-Palooza.
O’Grady seems to be having fun at different parts of the festival, but he has one area he likes the most.
“Competitions are my favorite,” O’Grady said. “Once in a while, when I’m a judge, I have to make the tough decision.”
This year there were the Best Dressed, Best Trick, Best Voice, Bobbing For Hot Dogs, Fast Finish and Quick Sit contests for pets.
Erica Sidenstick from Orland Park brought along her little dog, Bentley, who took third place in Best Dressed as Hannibal Lecter, a fictional villain from Thomas Harris’s novels including “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Last year, Bentley won while dressed as Forrest Gump.
Sidenstick said she came to several Pet-Paloozas.
“I love the family nature of it,” she said. “I love it.”
The 2022 version of Pet-Palooza featured an overview of exotic pets, dog training, and information on fostering pets and treating senior pets.
Musician Erik Donner was the headliner – and the only act – in the musical tent. He played old classics throughout the three-hour event. His father, the late Ral Donner, is credited with influencing John Lennon and Robert Plant.
Erik performed Ral’s 1961 hit “You Don’t Know What You Got (Till You Lose It)” in Ral’s honor.
Children’s entertainment included stilt talker Dave Fleming, face painting, train rides, bouncy houses and inflatable obstacles and character appearances from Spider-Man, Peppa Pig, Mirabel, Isabela and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles .
Rescue shelters present at the event were Animal Welfare League, Cache Creek Rescue, Feline Cat Rescue, Halfway Home Animal Rescue, One Goal Animal Foundation, Paws Up 4 Rescue, South Suburban Humane Society, St. Sophia’s Forgotten Felines and Traveling Tails Dog. Rescue.
PHOTOS: 10th edition of Orland Pet-Palooza Township