The fourth annual Blessing of the Animals in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park attracted more than 500 attendees and their pets this past Sunday. This was the highest attendance recorded in the event’s history. From a blue tonged lizard to a wolf hybrid dog, all animals were blessed by Monsignor Mark Campbell.

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Chopper the Biker Dog at Blessing of the Animals 2013 (photo by Casey Dean)

Participating exhibitors included animal adoption agencies such as the Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego and Shelly’s Shelter. Chopper the Biker Dog and Sindi Somers were on hand to entertain and educate the crowd. Sponsored by Old Town’s Fiesta de Reyes, the event also featured a pet costume contest and a pet and owner look-a-like contest.

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Msgr. Mark Campbell blessing the animals in the crowd (photo by Casey Dean)

Historically, this event has been happening for more than 300 years – dating back to the 1700s. The present day event is modeled after annual Benediction of the Beasts which celebrates St. Anthony of the Desert, the Patron Saint of Animals. For more information about Blessing of the Animals, call 619-297-3100.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is hosting the 4th annual Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, Jan.20, from noon to 3 p.m. The blessing is led by Monsignor Mark Campbell, but all faiths and convictions are welcome to celebrate the animals that make our lives so special. The blessings will take place between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Chopper the Biker Dog gets blessed at last year's Blessing of the Animals event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Chopper the Biker Dog gets blessed at last year’s Blessing of the Animals event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

There will be a pet expo with treats for pets and owners as well as activities for kids. Sky Hunters will be bringing exotic birds to the event and various rescue groups such as Emergency Animal Rescue will educate the public about rescuing, rehabilitating and supporting wild and domesticated animals.

There will also be animals available for adoption, animal-themed entertainment and a special appearance by Chopper the Biker Dog. Chopper is a one-year-old Boston terrier who is known all around the county for riding his own Harley Davidson motorcycle and his distinctive biker goggles.

Historically, this event has been happening for more than 300 years – dating back to the 1700s. In San Diego the annual Benediction of the Beasts celebrates St. Anthony of the Desert, the Patron Saint of Animals. Activities for both animals and families make this celebration both unique and very moving to all who participate.

Admission to this event is free. For more information, visit:  http://www.facebook.com/fiestadereyes or call 619-297-3100.