Sonoma-Marin Fair celebrates 25 years of ugly dogs

Less-than-lovely dogs will receive special recognition at this year's World's Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma.

It's the 25th anniversary of the contest that celebrates ugly canine mugs that are sometimes so warty, splotchy or drooly that only their owners can truly appreciate their beauty.

"It's really over the top," organizer Vicki DeArmon said. "There is quite a lot of fanfare for the 25th year."

Sonoma-Marin Fair Setup


The "Dog Days of Summer" fair begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday, with special days for kids, seniors, farmers and families. The Sonoma-Marin Fair is one of the few that includes all activities — carnival rides, concerts and attractions — in a single entry price.

Syndicated radio personalities Bob & Sheri will host the World's Ugliest Dog contest on Friday, bringing their fun-filled perspectives on the lineup of dogs vying for the top prize. The day includes a dog-lover's festival with special canine events all day.

So far, 25 dogs are signed up for the anti-beauty contest, about half of which are new contestants.

"We have poodles, terriers, tons of pugs, for some reason, and some Chinese crested," DeArmon said. "There's a big mix. Generally, the winner seems to be a new dog, so it may be one of those ugly mutts."

Mugly, a Chinese crested who trudged his ugly mug from Peterborough, England, to compete last year, is not defending his crown.

Fans of the dogs will be able to have the contestants "paw-tograph" a new book, "World's Ugliest Dogs," which chronicles the history of the event with photos and stories.

The rest of the fair promises to bring old favorites and new fun, including concerts from Kellie Pickler, Kix Brooks, the Marshall Tucker Band, Loverboy and Fiesta Latina.

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