Dog Fest today at Veterans Park

TUPELO – In a city with festivals honoring flowers, rock ‘n’ rollers and the arts, the canine now has a party of its own.
Dog Fest 2010 kicks off with a parade at 11 a.m. today at Veterans Park and continues throughout the afternoon with a variety of kid-and-pet-friendly events, like howling contests and dunking booths.
It will culminate at 6 p.m. with the crowing of the canine king and queen, each of whom will win a crown or tiara, free yearly vaccinations and grooming, three months of Frontline, free dog bowls, pillows, dog charms and gourmet cookies.
Sponsored by Friends of the Park, Tupelo Parks and Recreation, and Grooming by Summer Knight, the event will be held in the Veterans Memorial parking lot. And it’ll help raise funds for the construction of a new public dog park.
“We hope to bring people out to see where the dog park is going to be built and what it’s about,” said Shanta Eiland of the city Parks and Recreation Department. “We want them to know we’re serious about what we’re doing.”
Plans for a dog park launched last year through the efforts of the city and a volunteer-based committee led by Tupelo resident Mark McDaniels. The group envisions four acres of enclosed, landscaped terrain hugging one of Veteran’s Park’s two lakes, but they’ll need $400,000 to make it happen.
On the heels of events such as the Azalea Festival, the GumTree Arts Festival and last weekend’s Elvis Festival, organizers hope the dogs’ day will generate a large part of the $15,000 they hope to raise by September.
Construction of the park could start by fall. When finished, it will have separate areas for large and small dogs, an agility course, a pavilion, docks along the lake, walking trial and ample parking.
Dogs inside the park would be able to run and romp without a leash, providing people without yards a chance to properly exercise their pets.
The family-friendly event will feature not only dog-related activities but children’s games, food vendors, a bake sale, silent auction and free giveaways every half hour. Raffle tickets also will be sold for a chance to win a painting by artist William Heard.
“There’s really not anything like this for dogs in Tupelo,” said Summer Knight, who spearheaded the festival. “I used to live in New Orleans, which is a big dog city, and there were always festivals like this. So we thought it’d be nice to have a festival that could be fun and also raise money.”
The event is open to everyone – with or without a dog.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Dog Fest 2010
Saturday’s event at Veterans Park will help raise money for a public dog park and is open to everybody. It’ll be held in the parking lot at the flags. There will be food, craft vendors and activities throughout the day. Here’s the schedule:
11 a.m. to noon – Pet adoption parade
12:30-1 p.m. – Pet/Owner look-alike contest
1-1:30 p.m. – “What makes a good therapy dog” demo
1:30-2 p.m. – Best “Pet Elvis” impersonator contest
2-2:30 p.m. – Canine water and food safety demo
2:30-3 p.m. – Best pet costume/dress-up contest
3-4 p.m. – K9 demo
4-4:30 p.m. – Pet fashion show by SGK pet designs
4:30-5 p.m. – Best pet howl/talker contest
5-6 p.m. – Crowning of king and queen
Registration is $2 per pet.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal