The county's largest dog show might be jumping ship and heading to Ocala, but one local kennel club has signed on to hold its own show in late May of next year.
Beth Carr, representing the Inverness Florida Kennel Club, has signed papers to host her group's own dog show, also sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, for May 19 and 20 at the Hernando County Fair Grounds.
While not as large as the 10-day event of previous years, she said the group hopes to bring in roughly 1,500 participants.
She said kennel club members approved doing so because of Florida Classic Clusters Winter Dog Show officials moving their show out of the county in light of a lawsuit between the kennel clubs who allege the Florida Classic Park owners misappropriated funds.
Carr said her club's members decided that Hernando County deserved to still have a dog show. Thus far plans call for a two-day event with hopes that it will grow larger the following year.
"We're trying to bring more revenue into the county and for the people here who have been so wonderful to us," Carr said. "The fairgrounds have the perfect facility for the event and while I'm sure this is going to be a learning process for us, the important thing is we want to go back to having a fun time at these events."
Sandra Nicholson, president of the Hernando County Fair Association, said that while Carr hasn't officially signed the contract, she has paid the deposit and added that as far as she is concerned, the dog show event is a "go."
"They want to keep this event in Hernando County and I think that's excellent," Nicholson said. "They're already talking about how many hotel rooms they'll need and we have people wanting to frequently come down to visit and check out the grounds. I know we're all really excited."
Carr said that while it's sad the Florida Classic show has moved to Ocala, she said it does offer an opportunity for local club members to create their own event and have something they haven't for years — fun.
She said as the January show grew throughout the years, it became more work and pressure to put on the event.
The recent lawsuit over whether money was misappropriated was the final straw.
"I think it became more about egos. Everybody wanted to be in charge," Carr said. "But now we have an opportunity to go back to having an old-fashioned fun time. Plus, we're working to keep the cost down, since the prices keep going up."
For more information about next year's dog show or to take part, contact Carr at (352) 597-1851.