A Day For The Dogs and More Weekend Fun

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When we heard about The Amazing New York Dog Race, a canine scavenger hunt based on CBS's The Amazing Race, our first reaction was skepticism. Will those dogs have any idea what's going on? What could they be thinking?

My owner and I must master this challenge, and each subsequent task, so we can claim our $50 gift certificate from Top Dog all-natural pet supplies. His bipedalism, opposable thumbs and stereoscopic vision make an excellent complement to my speed, tenacity and olfactory power. Victory will be ours!

The absurdity was nagging if not discouraging. Organizer Mary Catanzaro reassured us. "It's more for the owners than for the dogs," she said. "Dog owners like to meet other dog owners."

And competition aside, she said, it will still be fun for the dogs. They’ll have easy access to treats and toys, and they’ll get to frolic with other dogs. An animal behaviorist will be on hand to keep things from getting too rowdy.
Catanzaro is most excited about the arrival of Laura Nativo and her dog Preston, the winning pair from another CBS reality show – Greatest American Dog.

“She just called me [from Los Angeles,] and she was like, ‘I’d like to come!’” Catanzaro said. “I was like, ‘Um, okay.’”
Catanzaro has organized the Amazing New York Race for four years now. Typically, contestants follow clues on a hunt that leads them all around Manhattan and exposes them to what Catanzaro calls "hidden New York."

Because dogs aren't allowed on the subway, the race in question will take place in Williamsburg. Challenges will be shared between owners (e.g., identify 20 dog breeds from photographs) and their dogs (learn a new trick, clamber through an agility tunnel).
Each team will be made up of two dogs and any number of human associates. Likewise, admission is $30 per dog, but humans get in free. Some of the proceeds will support the Center for Animal Care and Control in Brooklyn.

The first team to complete every challenge will win a handful of prizes from local groomers, boarders and trainers. All participants will receive a doggie bag full of mini-gifts and an invite to the afterparty at Brooklyn Ale House, where a human behaviorist will be on hand in case things get too rowdy.

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, you can  head out early and stroll down Lewis Ave. for the third annual Shops of Lewis Ave. Sidewalk Soiree (sidewalks of Lewis Ave, betw. Decatur & Hasley Sts.).

The streets will be lined with local retailers and homegrown businesses some of their best items.  The Brooklyn Public Library's Macon Branch will be hosting a creative arts showcase, in addition to a few other entertainment venues scheduled for the day.  And, of course, they will be some food for you weary foot-soldiers fatigued from your trek down the avenue. Festivities kick off at 10 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. For more info, call 718-771-0633.

And we know you've been told that Bed-Stuy isn't exactly the 'hood you want to stroll through without ample back-up.  But this weekend, ignore all those naysayers and head over to the Spencer Sewing Factory (144 Spencer St., betw. Myrtle & Willoughby Sts.) for some rooftop revelry.

In celebration of the second annual Open Studios, The Factory will be teeming with over 27 local artists, showcasing their work (for free!) as they're serenaded by a host of local musicians (seven total). "Our goal is to showcase emerging artists, share ideas and build a sense of community for local artists in an emerging and diverse community," said curator of Open Studios and featured artist Susan Boatenreiter.

The evening kicks off at 4 with an art show curated byBoatenreiter.  Guests can also mosey out to the sculpture garden or enjoy a small cookout and bar-side chat (in case the wine and cheese gets boring).  Get a full schedule [here].

By Justin Richards and Megan McGinley

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