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Balloon race going to the dogs

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Have you ever seen a wiener dog race? If not, you soon can for the first time this year at the 27th annual Highland Village Balloon Festival.

Watching the short-legged, long-bodied Dachshunds wander along 70-foot race lanes toward their owners enticing them with squeaky toys can be a lot of fun, says Dianne Ashmore with the Highland Village Lions Club, which organizes the annual festival.

“It’s just the most fun ever,” she said, adding a few members traveled to Buda, Texas, near Austin to watch their wiener dog races, which feature more than 500 racers. “It was hysterically funny. Wiener dog races are unpredictable in a fun sort of way.”

After seeing the races, Highland Village Lions Club members decided it was the perfect event to add to their Sunday morning line-up during the three-day festival slated for Aug. 15-17 at Unity Park in Highland Village.

“When we saw the event, it was such a good fit for our festival,” Ashmore said.

Qualifying races will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday with the winner’s race slated immediately afterward, around 11 a.m.

Registration fees are $25 through Friday, $30 Saturday through Aug. 5 and $35 on-site only. This year’s race will be limited to the first 72 entrants.

Sponsored by the Lantana Animal Hospital, the wiener dog races will have three winners with the first place sponsored by The Nosey Dog, second place by the Animal Medical Center of Highland Village and third place by Critter Care Animal Hospital.

Those interested can register online at http://lionsballoonfest.com/special-events/wiener-dog-races/.

In its second year, the 5K/1K fun run will continue to be part of the festival, Ashmore said. The 1K begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, with the 5K following at 8:30 a.m. Registration fees are $35 for 18 and over entrants in the 5K, $25 for those ages 17 and under. For the 1K race, fees are $20 for entrants age 18 and older, $20 for those ages 12 to 17 and $10 for those age 11 and under. For additional information, contact Holly Reed at 972-317-2394 or at hotair5k@verizon.net.

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