Now that the introductions are complete, I can write about last weekend.
When I picked up Bea from the Rescue, they told me about this yearly event they hold in Rehoboth Beach. From the way I understood it (or how my pea brain failed to recognize the finer details that were being explained to me) this was a simple event where the bullies go into a kissing booth and something called a pumpkin patch. What did not dawn at me at the time was that this was part of an overall larger event. I went in expecting a party and got a festival.
Every year, On the Rebound English Bulldog Rescue has a booth a the Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddlers’ Festival in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. One have of the booth is dedicated to a Kissing Booth where people can donate a buck to get and/or give a smooch to one of our English Bulldogs. The other side consisted of the Pumpkin Patch, a small fenced in area with hay bales and other Halloween decorations. Kids or other people could donate $2 to come inside and get to interact one on one with the bullies inside.
The Rescue also sells t-shirts, stickers, and other bully-related swag. Also, for $5, they offered a printed photo of you and one of the bullies. All the money made goes to the Rescue and care for the dogs. It is also a chance for people that have dogs from the rescue to come together and interact with each other and the dogs.
This was my first year and just about everything I wrote above is what I learned there. In hindsight, I had no idea what I was getting into. In fact, I had never been to Rehoboth before. While I had visited Ocean City a couple of times, I had never stayed overnight. The Eastern Shore was always one of those places that has been on THE LIST but I just never went to.
What was NOT a good idea was to have my windows tinted in the Subaru the day before leaving for the trip. Why? Well, I was told I couldn’t roll down the windows for three days following the tint job. That meant, I was virtually trapped inside a car on a long trip with a dog know for their gas. And, of course, what would have normally been a three hour tour… err trip, turned into a 4 1/2 hour nightmare because of some jack-knifed tractor trailer on the beltway. So that was a four and one half hour trip in a car with a dog that had some heinous gas and I couldn’t roll down the windows. Lucky me.
After check in and attempting to put plastic covering down in the floor of my room, it was just about dinner time. According to the emails I had received, there was a meet scheduled at a local pizza place. There I was rapidly introduced to all of the people associated with the event and rescue. It was a whirlwind and, at the time, I was still so new to the process that I had a ton of question but was still operating in the play-it-by-ear mode. I met a lot of nice people and we all had one thing in common, which is great for a talking point. During the dinner, I learned more about the process for the weekend, and then ultimately what was expected of me and, more importantly, Bea.
The tents were setup and operating by 8am and that meant the kissing booth and pumpkin patch were supposed to be manned or… dogged. Bea had been selected for first shifts because as this was her first time at the Sea Witch event, no one knew how she would do. After dinner, I went back to the hotel, leashed Bea, and took her on a walk. I headed towards the beach. I had no idea of whether or not she had actually ever been to the beach or even seen the ocean. Even though it was nighttime, I let her go into the sand and walked towards the water. She seemed fascinated with the sound and motion and, at one point, charged the waves. It was only until she felt the water when maybe she realized, “It’s wet and cold! No thanks!” Thankfully, I packed a couple of towels.
We showed up on time and things quickly became busy. First, Bea was put in the Pumpkin Patch for a couple hours and then she was put into the Kissing Booth. A couple of the ladies from the Rescue ‘managed’ her but suggested I walk around in the crowd as if to let Bea know I was still around and near. She actually did very well in the booth. For a Bulldog, she has great features, a welcoming face, and an easy disposition.
While my little girl was in the kissing booth and I was out in the crowd taking pictures and observing is when I was privy to the crowd noise. I should mention now that Saturday was incredibly busy. There were a lot of people walking on the closed street and browsing the booths at the festival. While tucked anonymously in the crowd. The random neckbeards made a wide variety of comments that either made me want to scream and/or chuckle. The comments were mostly from opinions based on uniformed knowledge about the breed ranging from their breathing, nature, looks, and health. While I didn’t hit anyone over the head with a bag of wet beans, I felt like it. Still, even with the random comments, there were a great number of people who found the same jolliness in the dogs as regular Bully owners do and were more than happy to come up, say hi, and pay a buck for a kiss.
At the end of the day on Saturday, it was all about the tear down. I was impressed! Everything that has been setup that morning had to be folded up and stored away for the night. From the EZ-UP tents to the bales of hay. All of it had to be folded up, packed away, and stored to only be set up once again the next morning.
After tear down, we all went back to our rooms, took care of our ‘kids’, and then got ready for the big dinner. This, apparently, is the big group wide dinner where we all got together to eat and drink and talk about the day and dogs. It was fun!
Sunday morning was a repeat of Sunday just without the same number of visitors. Bea and I arrived around 8am again. I put her in one of the crates and helped (or tried) to setup the booth for the coming day. This day, Bea and I would spend most of the time in the Pumpkin Patch. It was interesting and educational to see her in this setting. She is great around people and kids, but there are some dogs that she can tolerate and some she can’t. It is with the latter that she gives a sort of short, but stern warning too. My grumpy lady.
In then end, I had much more fun than I expected. It was great meeting people who have a similar interest in these dogs. But was much more fun was seeing how different and GOOD Bea is compared to some of the other Bullies. I was asked more than once if I would consider coming back next year. My answer: Yes.