NORTH RIDGEVILLE - More than 1,000 from across the U.S. attended last Saturday’s 18th Annual Skunfest at South Central Park in North Ridgeville. In addition to about 50 de-scented skunks being coddled and fussed over, the event included raffles, contests and more than 40 booths with food and souvenirs for the skunk-loving attendees. Skunkfest benefits Skunk Haven, nonprofit skunk rescue and education center in North Ridgeville.
Aura, a 3-year-old skunk owned by Cam Siegal of Torrington, Wyoming, was crowned queen and an 8-year-old hard-working skunk named Sonny, owned by Renee Pearlstein of Madison, Ohio, was king.
"I've loved skunks ever since I was a kid," Siegal said. "Maybe it was Flower from ‘Bambi,’ I don't know. This was just amazing. Aura is just beautiful."
Pearlstein, who is vice president of Skunk Haven, said she has seven skunks at home, but it's Sonny she takes to wildlife education events, schools and camps. "I'm very proud of him," she said. "He's a good boy. He's just as cuddly and sweet. he's slowed down a little bit, but he's doing all right." (Skunks have a life expectancy of about 10 years.)
Skunkfest originally was held in North Ridgeville resident Deb Cipriani's backyard after she realized that skunk lovers didn't have many places to share their passion for skunks. Ohio, she said, is one of just 17 states where skunks could be legally kept as a pet.
John Carr and Susan Hutchinson of Arkansas, have 18 pet skunks at home. Hutchinson was wearing a T-shirt that said, "Just one more skunk, I promise."
"Oh, it's never just one more skunk," Carr said.
Skunk Haven accepts donations of cash, blankets and paper towels. For more information, visit www.skunkhaven.net or call 614-266-6800.
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