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Q&A: Why wasn’t Pet-a-Palooza held in Citrus Heights this year?

Pet-a-Palooza at Rusch Park in Citrus Heights
File photo, a dog races through a “doggie fun zone” obstacle course during Pet-a-Palooza 2014 at Rusch Park. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
For years, the end of April meant thousands of pets and people would flood Rusch Park for the annual Pet-a-Palooza festivities. But this year, nothing happened.

Asked what happened to what had long-been one of Citrus Heights’ largest and most popular events each year, Sunrise Recreation and Parks Senior Recreation Services Manager Marty Buell said the event’s organizers had decided to run “a much smaller scaled event” at William Land Park in Sacramento, which was held on March 25 of this year. He said the change in plans came after CBS Radio, who organized the event in the past, was taken over by Bonneville Communications towards the end of last year.

A phone message left with Bonneville Sacramento was not returned on Friday, but the organization’s website indicates the company took over operation of four radio stations in the Sacramento area on Nov. 1, 2017, which were previously operated by CBS Radio. The Colorado-based company is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose local media arm has a mission to provide “thoughtful, informative, and positive programming.”

Bonneville Sacramento’s website also states it has a goal to provide “a personal touch” with their audience through providing family friendly events, among which Pet-a-Palooza is listed.

So will Pet-a-Palooza be back in Citrus Heights next year? Or is it gone for good.

Sunrise Parks District Administrator Dave Mitchell told The Sentinel on Friday that the possibility has been left open for the event to return to Rusch Park in 2019, but said nothing had been discussed with Bonneville at this point. “They just needed to cut some of their costs, so they were going to downsize their event somewhat and move it to Land Park,” he said, implying that circumstances could change next year.

The free event annually drew headliner performances on stage with popular singers, as well as pet-friendly activities, vendor booths, and inflatables for children. It also attracted upwards of 10,000 attendees to Rusch Park in prior years, according to estimates from the park district.

“Pet-a-Palooza has been fabulous here in Citrus Heights,” said Mitchell. “We would love to have it back.”

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