NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A few dozen skunks gathered on the street might send a lot of folks scrambling in the opposite direction.
But not in North Ridgeville.
On Sept. 13, Skunkfest 2008 will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and allow those curious about skunks to see them “up close and personal,” said Renee Pearlstein, a representative for Skunk Haven.
Skunkfest, as the name implies, has a lot of activities in which skunks can participate. The skunks have had their stink glands removed.
The “skunk run” will have the critters racing through a maze with the help of their human counterparts, the “best detective” contest will see how fast they can knock over a bag in the middle of a ring, and a costume contest will judge which skunk is best dressed.
The festival, in its eighth year, draws skunk owners from around the nation.
Last year, 400 people came from as far away as Florida to learn about and show off their skunks.
“It was started for people to get together and have some fun,” Pearlstein said.
Humans get into the festival for a donation of paper towels, organic pasta or rice, or natural grain cereal, but will pay entry fees for their skunks’ activities. The money raised will go to support the Skunk Haven shelter.
In addition to the skunk festivities, the event will feature vendors of skunk products and educational displays to give non-owners a sense of what pet skunks are like.
They aren’t for everyone.
“Skunks are good pets for the right kind of people,” Pearlstein said.
That would be the patient kind.
“They’re kind of like a ferret crossed with a 2-year-old,” she said.
Owners must also be prepared to make dinner for their pets.
“You can’t buy a bag of skunk food at the store,” Pearlstein said. “You have to cook for them.”
Whether owners or simply curious passers-by, those who attend are promised a new understanding of the animal.
“After they leave, they’re not going to see skunks the same way,” said Skunk Haven president Deborah Cipriani. “They’ll see them in a different light … or a different smell.”
Contact Alison Dietz at 329-7128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: A gathering of skunks and skunk lovers
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 13
WHERE: 32072 Center Ridge Road, North Ridgeville