In conjunction with Critter Cabana opening, event will host vendors, contests and more

On Dec. 6, downtown Newberg will be filled with events, but Pet Palooza will be the only place with a giant, inflatable bulldog.

In conjunction — but still separate — with Critter Cabana’s grand re-opening, Pet Palooza will become what Brittani Johnson hopes is an annual event.

“I volunteer with the Newberg Downtown Coalition and they’ve been wanting to do a pet event for a couple of years,” said Johnson, co-owner of Critter Cabana. “They brought it to us and we said `that’d be fantastic, we’d love to do it,’ and we kind of played around with having two events, the grand opening one day and theirs another, but ultimately we thought for everything it’s probably best to put it all together.”by: GARY ALLEN - Pets galore - Critter Cabana is scheduled for a grand opening Dec. 6 and will partner with the first ever Pet Palooza. Above, Critter Cabana co-owner Scott Johnson works to ready the store for both events.

Mike Ragsdale, NDC executive director, said they were looking for an event to fill the late-fall months.

“We thought there was something we could do that wasn’t just Christmas in this kind of slow season for things going on, besides Christmas shopping,” Ragsdale said. “And we came up with a pet event.”

He said before a fire destroyed Critter Cabana last year, it was one of the favorite spots downtown.

“So when we decided (it) … would be a good idea if they could join,” he said. “We checked with Critter Cabana and when they were re-opening. It turned out they were re-opening Dec. 6, so we coordinated it with the opening.”

Ragsdale also clarified that Pet Palooza is not Critter Cabana’s grand opening.

“We just decided to take advantage of the drive they’ll have and help them at the same time,” he said.

Johnson said the event will bring in all the different aspects of pet ownership.

“Everything from vets and trainers, to boarding facilities, to people who make products for dogs,” she said. “That’s the idea. Just building onto the pet community, getting excited and all joined up together.”

In the future, she said there could be potentially more events and they are tossing around the idea of a Critter Crawl through downtown. For now, events include a pet/human look-a-like contest, best trick contest and an award ceremony for categories including oldest pet, youngest pet, most unique pet and ugliest pet. There will also be photo opportunities with ponies, and various goodies, including hot cider.

As for the store’s re-opening, that will occur inside and feature a petting zoo, exotic pets, goodies for pets and other activities.

At the moment, there are about 10 vendors slated to man booths, but Johnson said with open slots, people are still welcome to apply.

For more information about becoming a Pet Palooza vendor, email Ragsdale at [email protected]

Events begin at 4 p.m. and run until about 9 p.m.

For more information about Pet Palooza, visit

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