Bengal Bus provides students with opportunity to attend fifth annual fall Corgi Beach Day

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Los Angeles community members gathered at the Huntington Dog Beach in Huntington Beach, Calif Oct. 28 for the fifth annual fall So Cal Corgi Beach Day. Hundreds of owners brought their corgis dressed in Halloween costumes in hopes of winning the corgi costume competition. Others attended the event simply to take a swim in the Pacific Ocean, or cheer on their favorite dog in events such as the limbo or the pumpkin pie-eating contest. The So Cal Corgi Beach Day is also a community organization that hosts three corgi beach days per year: spring, summer and fall.

Occidental students were able to attend the Corgi Beach Day through the Occidental Bengal Bus program, which provides students with free-of-charge “Wild Card” trips every Saturday. This service gives Occidental students the opportunity to experience greater Los Angeles without the expensive transportation fees. Emma Pond (first year), who attended Corgi Beach Day, felt the corgis were an antidote to some of the daily stresses of college life.

“I love corgis so much, and I would never have been able to go if it weren’t for the Bengal Bus,” Pond said. “Who wouldn’t want to spend a day on the beach with the world’s most strange and beautiful dogs?”

The Corgi Beach Day events are free to the public, and while designed specifically to glorify the corgi, all dogs are welcome to attend as “honorary corgis” according to the Corgi Beach Day Facebook event. Southern California natives Dan and Kelly McLemore host the events and founded the organization in October 2012. The event has grown from 15 corgis to the more than 1,000 dogs who participated in the Fall 2016 Corgi Beach Day. A portion of the merchandise profits of Corgi Beach Day also helps promote and support corgi rescue organizations like the Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue.

Online, members of the So Cal Corgi Beach Day identify themselves on social media platforms using the hashtag #CorgiNation, according to the event’s website. There are hundreds of Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr accounts dedicated to the beauty and spirit of the sausage-shaped dog: a simple search of the word “corgi” on Youtube provides 939,000 results.

In keeping with Halloween tradition, corgi owners dressed their pets as sharks, surfers, hot dogs and more. The event emphasized the eclectic culture of Los Angeles, according to Hannah Seltzer (first year).

“It was a collection of some of the most eccentric people; you just wouldn’t see this sort of thing where I’m from,” Seltzer, a native of Reno, Nev., said.

Several local food trucks catered the event, including a food truck designated specifically for dog treats. The space also proved to be an opportunity for local artists to showcase and sell their work. One vendor, Amanda Burns, who was selling corgi-themed prints and offering custom pet portraits, emphasized the generosity of the corgi community.

“It was my first time being a vendor, and the Corgi Beach Day community is amazing,” Burns said. “We get together and enjoy a day of cuteness overload, but we also help Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Many of the corgis and their owners at So Cal Corgi Beach Day were also promoting their social media platforms. At five months old, it was Waffles’ very first time at the beach, but she already has over 1,500 followers, according to her Instagram.

“The event is a place for corgis to socialize and bring the corgi Internet community into real life,” Sophie Tsai, Waffles’ owner, said.

Other dogs and their owners were promoting YouTube accounts or even personal merchandising websites, like Super Corgi Jojo, who has a long list of personal skills including surfing and paddle-boarding.

The next So Cal Corgi Beach Day will be  April 8, 2018.