Quiet Festival celebrates squeakers

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Fionna Janson, 11, of Somers Point dresses her guinea pig, Big Boy, in a holiday outfit. OCEAN CITY – The Quiet Festival crept into Ocean City last week, bringing with it a variety of quiet-inspired events. On Saturday, for the first time, the Quiet Festival featured an event specifically for quiet pets.

“We have a quiet festival where you do all things quiet, but I thought there’s never been a contest for quiet pets,” Ocean City publicist Mark Soifer said.

White mice, hamsters and guinea pigs were invited to the Community Center for a day of activities geared specifically for them: a lettuce-eating contest, best sleeping position, cutest costume and more.

“There’s was even a chinchilla that showed up,” Soifer said.

Not so quiet was the music performed by Amber Blues Acoustic Band.

In addition to local pets, Halt Rescue, the Cumberland County Humane Society and Pet Smart also participated in the event.

Soifer said the idea for a lettuce-eating contest came from Guinea Pig Today, a website, which heard about the contest and suggested the idea, specifying that it is best to use romaine lettuce instead of iceberg due to the nutritional value.

The contest, however, turned out to be too hard to judge.

“I did go around to every guinea pig and I gave them a piece of lettuce to chew. They all devoured it in about three seconds,” Soifer said. “They didn’t fool around. We gave every person with a guinea pig a ribbon.”

Due to the nocturnal nature of mice and hamsters, Soifer said organizers decided on the best sleep position contest. Other categories included: livliness, lack of energy, appearance, personality, interest in surroundings and most cooperative.

Soifer said he was impressed with Saturday’s turnout and hopes to hold the event at next year’s festival.

“Sometimes it’s hard to figure out,” he said. “I think it’s a natural. I think there’s enough people.”

He said people like to check out other pets and also show-off their own.

“Were really happy with the way it turned out,” Soifer said.

This year’s winners are:


1. Bella - Shannon Bechtel, Egg Harbor Township

2. Jasmine - Hannah Shomsky, Northfield

3. Reese - Shannon Dilling, Upper Township


1. Sunflower - Angelina Moiso, Ocean City

2. Mr. Tibbles - Cameron Viola, Warminster, Pa.


1. Fufu - Isaac Eberley, Ocean City

2. Faline - Sara Durante,Northfiled

3. Bella D - Mary Durante, Northfield

Interest in Surroundings

1. Henry - Alma and Eliza Jansen, Somers Point

2. Mr. Squeakers - Cameron Viola, Warminster, Pa.

3. Poof - Kelley Willett, Upper Township


1. Bella B - Shannon Bechtel, Egg Harbor Township

2. Big Boy - Fiona Jansen, Somers Point

3. Cassandra and Sandy - Pet Smart

4. Biddy - Hanna Smith, Linwood

Lack Of Energy

1. Claire - Marlee Deegler, Egg Harbor Township

2. Bella K- James Kolea, Ocean City

3. Ella - Kaitelin Cummings, Northfield

Most Cooperative

Thelma and Louise (Chinchillas) - Pet Smart

Best in Show

Winter, Lilac, Lucy and Irene - Halt Center

Best White Mouse

Penny - John Burkhart and Julia Albertson, Vineland.

Following the quiet pet challenge, a folk concert featuring instrumentalist Lew London and Smithsonian recording artist Jim Albertson was held at the Community Center. The event was capped off on Tuesday with a paper airplane making and flying event with licensed pilot Ken Thorpe.

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Issace Eberly, 10, of Ocean City shows off his guinea pig, Fu Fu, dressed appropriately in a tutu.

PetSmart’s Sandy is dressed in holiday gear.

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