Fayette County

Hollywood and horses make for a fab fest

Nicky Pettry, 23, of Chester, Va., cooled off near a fan while dressed as the Mad Hatter for a movie-themed costume contest at BreyerFest.
Nicky Pettry, 23, of Chester, Va., cooled off near a fan while dressed as the Mad Hatter for a movie-themed costume contest at BreyerFest.

Breyer horse dealers Don and Nancy Fowkes know that if a horse based on a movie comes out, it'll generate a lot of interest.

Hollywood can have a similar impact on BreyerFest, the annual celebration of the iconic model horse maker.

"This has been a really good year," said Nancy who, with Don, has been bringing their Spotted Horse Ranch Model Horses booth to BreyerFest for 15 years. "The celebrities have helped."

Celebrities such as Priscilla Presley, ex-wife of late rock 'n' roll icon Elvis Presley, made a splash the first two days of the festival, which ends Sunday, launching the Elvis Presley Collection of Breyer Horses at BreyerFest.

And the Celebration Horse — the featured horse whose limited edition model comes with three-day tickets to BreyerFest — was All Glory, a Standardbred owned by actor William Shatner and his wife, Elizabeth. It has 12 world championships to his name.

Elizabeth Shatner and several other friends from the gaited horse world presented a show that included All Glory the first two days of BreyerFest, and there will be one more performance around 1:25 p.m. Sunday.

"We want to help generate excitement about the World Equestrian Games," Shatner said about presenting at BreyerFest. "This is a great springboard for ticket sales."

Sitting at her booth at BreyerFest, which also featured her photography, Elizabeth Shatner said it was her first time at the event, and she was impressed with its size and character.

At hotels near the horse park, she saw that girls were putting their horses in the windows of their rooms, Elizabeth Shatner said.

"It's so cute," she said. "It reminds me of when I was a little girl, because I was just like that. I would create little mini-skits with my horses."

One girl at BreyerFest developed a small following by filming skits of her Breyer horses and putting them up on YouTube.

"I just have weird ideas with them talking and stuff," said Candice Bermudez, 12, of Groton, Mass. "One of them was like Harry Potter."

She was meeting friends that she had met through YouTube at the fest.

Harry Potter was also a theme for several entries in the BreyerFest annual art contest, which, like the rest of the event, was Hollywood themed. In addition to Horsey Potters, there were horses made up as everyone from Gone with the Wind heroine Scarlett O'Hara to Marilyn Monroe to Lady Gaga, including a few based on William Shatner's biggest claim to fame, Star Trek.

One contestant matched her model to her outfit for the movie-themed costume contest: The Mad Hatter.

"I'm a big Johnny Depp fan," Nicky Pettry of Chester, Va., said, cooling herself in front of a fan.

Residing somewhere between fan and star was country singer Templeton Thompson, an unabashed horse lover who got the thrill of a lifetime when Breyer made a model of her horse, Jane, for a music video for her song, Girls and Horses.

Breyer has since made a new model of Jane that will be packaged with a Christmas CD to be sold at Tractor Supply stores in the fall.

"That will be a dream come true, to walk in to Tractor Supply and see those," Templeton said at her BreyerFest booth.

A lot of the BreyerFest attendees would certainly agree.

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