Thursday, June 5, 2003

West Chester dog festival Sunday


Proceeds go to no-kill shelters

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Billed as the fastest-growing event in this Butler County community, Dog Fest will be held Sunday for the fourth year at Voice of America Park.

IF YOU GO
What: Dog Fest
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Voice of America Park, Tylersville and Cox roads, West Chester Township.
Events: Contests, demonstrations, information booths, parades and games will be held throughout the day. For a complete schedule, go to www.westchesteroh.org. Or call parks and recreation department events coordinator Michelle Morgan at (513) 759-7301.
More events and attractions are expected to draw an even larger crowd than in past years, parks and recreation director Bill Zerkle said.

"Attendance has doubled every year," Zerkle said. "Last year, we had roughly 4,000 dogs and 10,000 people from all over Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana."

Dog Fest caters mostly to dogs and dog owners, but also has attractions for cat lovers, children and others. There will be contests and prizes for the most talented dog, dog and owner look-alikes, and a variety of games for pets and owners. For the more seriously trained dog, agility and rally style obedience events will be offered.

And throughout the day, there will be demonstrations by the Southern Ohio Flying K9s Disc Dog Club (a Dog Fest sponsor), the West Chester Township Police Canine Unit, sheep herding and more.

West Chester Township is spending about $7,000 to put on the $40,000 festival, Zerkle said. Sponsors are funding the rest. Proceeds from booth rentals and concessions will benefit Paws of Middletown and The League for Animal Welfare of Batavia Township.Last year, both no-kill animal shelters received just over $2,000 each in Dog Fest proceeds.

"Getting involved with Dog Fest is one of the best things that could have happened to us," PAWS executive director Peggy Landis said. "It gets our name out there, it lets people know there's a no-kill animal shelter in the area and it definitely helps our adoption rate."

Sarah Skoglund, a League for Animal Welfare board member, said Dog Fest "is a positive event that showcases responsible pet ownership."

New at Dog Fest this year will be the commemorative brick sale for Iams Wiggly Field, a three-acre dog park under construction in the northeast corner of Voice of America Park. Wiggly Field, to be completed in September, will have dog drinking fountains, shade trees and a fenced grass area where dogs can be unleashed.

The commemorative bricks will be laid out in a bone shape at the dog park entrance. Bricks cost $75 and can be engraved to honor dogs, cats and other family companions.

E-mail annag1129@cs.com




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