PETALUMA, CA - JUNE 20: A Chihuahua named Elwood sits with his tongue out at a past Ugliest Dog Competition at the Sonoma-Marin Fair. Want to enter your baby in the 2014 contest? Entries are open. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UGLY, YOU'RE PRETTY: We learn, when we're young, that "ugly" as a concept is something to be avoided (while simultaneously learning that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"). Of course the necessity of avoiding whatever is deemed "ugly" is complete nonsense, if we go with the ol' "eye of the beholder" chestnut, as we should. It's all a matter of perspective and taste, in short, and for some people, ugly is something to aspire to, perhaps nowhere more so than the Sonoma-Marin Fair. The summertime extravaganza is known for rides, yes, and the requisite fried foods, but the annual World's Ugliest Dog competition is the one that makes the worldwide headlines. And how could it not? A bevy of barkers boasting extra-long tongues and patchy hair and snaggle teeth and sweet faces parade for glory and prizes, and cameras around the world capture their canine-cute spirit. Anyone with an unusual pup -- and that's most pup owners, we'll wager -- kind of dreams of seeing their furry one take the crown in Petaluma each June. Much glory, much love, much ugly awesomeness. Is this your year? Entries are now open, ugly dog lovers.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The fair is set to glitter again in Petaluma from June 18 through 22. The World's Ugliest Dog competition is on that Friday, June 20, and there are rules to know (and vaccinations to submit). Top prize? Oh, just a trophy and $1,500 clams. Good stuff for just being a little weird in the appearance department. Plus, if your pooch wins? He or she'll be front page news the following day. It's too tempting to resist, and it proves, again, our thesis: "Ugly," or whatever a person considers as ugly, is beautiful.