published Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Running of the Chihuahuas coming up

First Tennessee Pavilion set for separate Cinco de Mayo events

Running of the Chihuahuas in Chattanooga
Thousands attended the fifth annual Running of the Chihuahuas races at the First Tennessee Pavilion for the Hits 96 radio station Cinco de Mayo party.
Greg Vandergriff, right, releases Star at last year’s Running of the Chihuahuas at First Tennessee Pavilion.
Greg Vandergriff, right, releases Star at last year’s Running of the Chihuahuas at First Tennessee Pavilion.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

What: Running of the Chihuahuas

When: 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4; music starts at 2 p.m., races at 6 p.m.

Where: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1829 Reggie White Blvd.

Admission: Free

Phone: 423-321-6215

Website: www.hits96.com


What: Cinco de Mayo at Chattanooga Market

When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, May 5

Where: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1829 Reggie White Blvd.

Admission: Free

Phone: 423-648-2496

Website: www.ChattanoogaMarket.com

This weekend isn't one of the regularly scheduled two-day festivals at Chattanooga Market, but back-to-back events at First Tennessee Pavilion might make it seem so.

Festivities get under way Saturday, May 4, with the return of the Running of the Chihuahuas, the popular dog races presented by Hits 96, WDOD-FM. The fun continues Sunday, May 5, with Chattanooga Market's Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Running of the Chihuahuas

Last year, according to organizers, more than 3,500 people attended the races of this pint-size breed.

This year, 60-inch television screens will be spaced around the track for optimum viewing. The number of food vendors has been increased, and artists and crafts from around the city will showcase their wares.

To celebrate the race's sixth year, six musical acts have been booked: Chris Wallace, a singer/songwriter known for "Remember When (Push Rewind)"; Anoop Desai from Season 8 of "American Idol"; VH1 Artist To Watch Wallpaper; California duo MKTO; 13-year-old singing sensation Jadagrace; and MTV Buzzworthy artist Jake Miller.

"Last year, we brought Hot Chelle Rae to the event, and two months later they had a No. 1 single," says station operation manager Danny Howard in a news release. "You could be seeing the next huge star for free at the Running of the Chihuahuas."

Owners may register their dogs at www.hits96.com. Online profiles of some of the competitors show they have their game faces on. Olive, owned by Terra Turner, brags of being a "whopping 3 pounds, one-eyed, four-legged, lightning-fast pooch." Belle, owned by Walt Davis, claims to be the "first lady of Chihuahua racing" and "a true diablo of speed." The training regimen for Oliver, owned by Ashland Behling, includes "running circles in the backyard." Lola, owned by Erica Anderson, says she's "ready to run, as soon as I choose what outfit to wear."

A portion of the day's proceeds will be donated to the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy.

Chattanooga Market

The market will salute Mexican-American culture on May 5, Cinco de Mayo.

Salsa figures prominently -- both the saucy kind and the dancing kind. Mariachi musicians will supply the tunes. Made-from-scratch salsas may be sampled at the pavilion, and other Latin foods and cervezas will be available.

The YMCA will offer Zumba dancing classes at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., as well as activities for children. Free day passes to the Downtown Y will be given away while supplies last.

The regular array of arts, crafts and produce will be provided by vendors. Marketgoers can expect to find strawberries and fresh-cut flowers as well as herbs to start a garden and blackberry and blueberry bushes for planting.

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