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File Photo Four-legged friends of all sizes will be found on Honolulu Avenue on Sunday during the annual Kids ‘n’ Kritters and Wags ‘n’ Whiskers event. Pet parents along with everyone else are invited to also take part in the Annual Taste of Montrose.  .

File Photo
Four-legged friends of all sizes will be found on Honolulu Avenue on Sunday during the annual Kids ‘n’ Kritters and Wags ‘n’ Whiskers event. Pet parents along with everyone else are invited to also take part in the Annual Taste of Montrose. .

By Brandon HENSLEY

It might sound strange, but a man who has been a part of the Montrose Shopping Park Association for 14 years and who owns a business on Honolulu Avenue will be experiencing the Sunday’s Kids ‘n’ Kritters and Wags ‘n’ Whiskers for the first time.

But that’s Dale Dawson, who is coordinating both events, which run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue. Dawson is a pastor who lives in Chatsworth. He’s usually up on the pulpit every Sunday, but this week the church’s elders were able to give him a break.

“I’m able to be here on Sunday, so this will be my first time to actually see the thing. I’m excited,” said Dawson, who runs Mountain Rose Gifts, which specializes in home décor, on Ocean View Boulevard.

It’s the 11th year for Kids ‘n’ Kritters and Wags ‘n’ Whiskers, which is sponsored by the Glendale Humane Society. There will be a petting zoo, a bungee jump area for kids and, once again, Wild Wonders Inc. from San Diego will have staff on hand to showcase exotic pets at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Sunday in the shopping park will also be the ninth annual Taste of Montrose, a fundraiser for Crescenta Valley High School’s Prom Plus. The organization holds an after-prom party every year at the Crescenta-Cañada Y from midnight to 5 a.m. Its goal is to provide a safe alternative for prom-goers after the big dance.

Taste of Montrose usually has around 20 local restaurants come to the shopping park and, for $20, patrons can partake in a selection of what every business has on hand. As of this week, there are about 17 businesses confirmed, including Frank’s Famous Kitchen and Bakery, Thee Elbow Room and Harvest Juice. The food court for these booths will be at the corner of Ocean View and Honolulu.

Kyle Studebaker is on the board of directors for Prom Plus. She said she and her friend Robin Goldsworthy had the idea for Taste of Montrose a decade ago and took it to the board of Montrose Shopping Park Assn.

“We didn’t know what we were doing, and we weren’t sure what would be a good night to do it on,” Studebaker said.

The association suggested holding it on a Sunday, together with the Harvest Market and Wags ‘n’ Whiskers.

“It was an awesome suggestion,” Studebaker said. “We’re in our ninth year and it’s a great event. We’re really fortunate to be a part of a community that has the opportunity to present this to our community members.”

Studebaker acknowledged the task of trying to compete with everything else throughout the day.

“We have very loyal people who come back every year and show their support in person,” she said.

Tickets for Taste of Montrose are on sale at Merle Norman Cosmetics on Honolulu Avenue, the office of Crescenta Valley Weekly and on Sunday at the Prom Plus food court at the intersection of Honolulu and Ocean View.

High school students who are a part of Prom Plus Club will lend their help, which is always much appreciated by Studebaker.

“It gives them an opportunity to get a foot in the community, to see what’s going on and to give service to others,” she said. “They’re awesome young individuals who are providing great community service.”

Dawson is anxious is participate in Taste of Montrose for the first time.

“I look forward to eating all kinds of things pretty much every day,” he said. “My wife and I call ourselves foodies. Our favorite network is the Food Network, so what does that tell you?”

Dawson is originally from the East Coast. He said Montrose is a place which gives off a small-town vibe, a place that reminds him of back east. The Critters and Whiskers events help hammer that point home.

“You don’t feel like you’re in L.A.,” he said. “It’s not over done, it’s not overly commercial. It’s real people and you make friends with everybody.”

That’s why it’s not hard for Dawson to make the drive every day from the 118 Freeway in Chatsworth to the 210 Freeway ending in Montrose.

“We wanted to be in Montrose. There wasn’t any other place we wanted to be,” Dawson said of he and his wife, Mary. “We found it, we picked it and deliberately wanted to be here.”

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