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Beach-Fest Goes to the Dogs--and Pigs

April 25, 1993|EMILY ADAMS

The ugly dogs are back.

Like pigs, beauty contestants and great steaming vats of chili, ugly dogs return to the beach at Shoreline Aquatic Park about this time every year.

The dogs will stalk the park this weekend with their owners, all of whom come looking for the big prize: The right to call their pooch the ugliest dog in all of Long Beach.

And this is by no means the quirkiest event in the annual Beach-Fest party.

You've got live pigs scrambling for Oreo cookies, celebrities hunkered down in motorized go-carts and men dressed in grass skirts and war paint for no clearly discernible reason.

Then there are the mighty Navy men, showing off their cake-decorating skills, while rock, jazz and country bands provide a musical backdrop.

Since this is the only fund-raising event that Beach Charities has each year--this is its 12th Beach-Fest--it is perhaps understandable that organizers attempt to throw all the city's disparate elements together in one weekend.

On Saturday, comedians will vie for attention with KLOS radio station's Rock 'n' Blues Fest, the U.S. Navy Cake Decorating contest, a mini-rodeo and a wine auction.

On Sunday, there is the Chili Cook-Off, a celebrity-studded mini-Indy car race, the Miss Chili Pepper and Mr. Hot Sauce beauty contests, the ugliest and most lovable dog contests, pig races, a parade and another rock concert.

And if that's not enough, there is also a carnival, arts and crafts booths and a car show that includes just about every kind of vehicle on four tires. A gourmet wine and food frenzy Saturday night requires a separate admission ticket.

Last year, the event, typically held the third weekend in March, was rained out, then collided with last spring's riots. The weekend party was finally held at the end of May.

Organizers hope to draw about 40,000 over the weekend to help raise money for the Special Olympics, the YWCA, the Long Beach City Sprinters--a private track-and-field club that draws athletes from disadvantaged neighborhoods--and the Adopt-a-Pet Christmas Program, which provides senior citizens with free pets, veterinary care and pet food.

Admission ranges from $5 to $10. Saturday night's Wine and Dine gourmet sampling is $20 to $40 per person. Information: (310) 436-7727.

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