Full Weekend Features Food, Animal Education

Photos by Steve HERNANDEZ
Photos by Steve HERNANDEZ

By Brandon HENSLEY

Montrose Shopping Park was so packed on Sunday it was almost literally a zoo. That’s because not only families came out for multiple events on Honolulu Avenue, but many animals did as well.

In the 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu the annual Kids ‘n’ Kritters and Wags ‘n’ Whiskers events were held. The Kritters block was dedicated to activities for children and their families. There was a bouncy house, a giant slide, a Tiny Tots gymnastics area and a petting zoo, which included chickens and goats.

The Wags area is where the annual fundraiser for the Glendale Humane Society was held. Dog owners could register their pets to compete in contests like “Most Irresistible Ears,” “Best Trick” and “Best Dog and Owner Look-a-like.”

There was also another kind of dog to see in the area. Judy Calame from the volunteer organization Grey Save was there with several grey hounds on display, as part of a meet and greet. Grey Save rescues the dogs from racetracks and gets them treated if they’re injured so they’re almost new again.

“They can run again, but not on the racetrack. They can run for fun in the backyard,” said Calame.

The nearest tracks to Southern California are in Tijuana and Tuscon, Ariz., said Calame.

“The popularity I think is waning,” she said of the sport.

Calame was there in part to set the record straight about grey hounds. She said people have the wrong impression of them.

“People say they’re hyper. They’re not hyper. They sleep 18-20 hours a day,” she said.

She added that they don’t need to have a big backyard, and that they can live in condos. The slender build and smaller bones of a grey hound means they don’t get hip dysplasia. Calame said that taking them to dog parks is fine, just don’t let them off the leash because once they see something they want to chase, they’re gone.

While Calame was informative about grey hounds, another display featured multiple creatures. Tamara Green was on hand from Wild Wonders, an organization based in north San Diego. Wild Wonders goes out into communities with different animals to educate people about how they play a role in their lives.

For instance, Green said snakes have a purpose because, “If we didn’t have snakes out in the wild, we wouldn’t be able to be standing here because we’d be up to our knees in rats and mice.”

Green pulled out an iguana, a young alligator named Gumbo – “Is he real?” asked one small girl – and a kinkachoo for the audience. Green said the kinkachoo, which is often called a night monkey because of its tail and ability to jump high, usually gets the biggest reaction.

Green also wanted to educate people about animals that get a “bad rap,” like the opossum.

“They’re not the ones who are the aggressor,” she said. “They’re not going to try and go after a dog or a cat or whatever. Most likely they’re just going to show their teeth and then play dead. They’re little scavengers. We call them nature’s little garbage men.”

The other fundraiser of the day was Taste of Montrose, the sixth annual event that brings local eateries together to raise money for the CV High School Prom Plus organization. People who came bought a wristband for $20 and then could taste certain dishes from the restaurants that participated.

Prom Plus is an organization that puts on an after-prom event at the Crescenta-Cañada Y.

Goodie Girls cupcakes was one place found on Honolulu, passing out samples of its cupcakes like red velvet and peaches ‘n’ cream.

“We just believe in what they’re doing,” said Goodie Girls owner Annette Starbuck of Prom Plus. “I started my business doing all charity work, so I was a home baker and charity was all I did, so I believe in giving back.”

Goodie Girls, located in Glendale near The Americana on Brand, has been featured on the Food Network several times, including the show “Cupcake Wars.” The business started last November.

Starbuck tried her hand in real estate and accounting before getting into the cupcake business full time.

“I was never a morning person, but now we get up at four in the morning and bake, and it doesn’t even faze you anymore,” she said.

Why is that?

“When you do what you love, sleep is hard.”