They say “Dogs have owners, and cats have staff.” In Oakland Park I would say that dogs have fans! On Sunday, February 16th not wind, rain or hail could have stopped hundreds of dog fans from going to Jaco Pastorious Park for the Seventh Annual Doggy Fun Fest!
It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, black, white, male, female, gay or straight. Two legs or four legs, everyone was welcome, and everyone has a special love and loyalty for their pets, and all kinds of pets are welcome at this fun annual event. One big day of music, food, animal friendly businesses and organizations, and let’s not forget, lots of furry friends. For those that don’t have a four legged friends of their own, there were plenty up for adoption of all ages, breeds and sizes. “From Bassett Hounds to Border Collies, German Shepherds to Heinz 57 Mixed Breeds, there is a dog for everyone!” said one of the adoption volunteers walking with an adoptable pup.
Over 25 booths, plus dog and human food spots, and lots of games could be found on this lawn. Even a few cat rescues came out to lend a paw. There were canine obstacle courses, pet and people costume contests, funny doggie races, and plenty of great businesses to shop at or learn about. Turns out humans do tricks too! Many dogs got a chance to lay in the grass while watching their humans play some fierce bean bag games to raise money for the event.
The rain did not deter anyone’s spirit or shopping opportunities. From hand-made collars, to CBD oil, custom treats and health supplements for your pets, to custom art work and custom portraits of your fur-ever friends, it was all there. There were also great local pet services like Canine Assisted Therapy, serving Veterans, patients, seniors, kids and special needs individuals. Two of our local great spots, Camp Canine and Central Bark were present for all of your doggie day care, boarding and grooming needs.
The Rotary Club of Oakland Park/Wilton Manors created this event seven years ago after a founding member passed away. He wanted to do a dog friendly event everyone could attend and bring the community together. A committee was formed and Doggie Day Fest was born in his memory. This year that committee was made of a handful of people that have a whole lot of love. They are: Heather Wolfe, Lew Naylor, Jacob Weil and Matthew Brennan.
One fun human/canine pack of 15 that enjoyed the event was the self-proclaimed “Dogs and Beer Pack”. These friends bring their dogs and meet up together for doggie play dates. “It’s a great opportunity for us to hang out in a dog friendly environment for a full day of doggie butt sniffing, friend making and beer drinking.” said one of the members. “But we usually get tired before the dogs do.”
It takes a village, and Oakland Park’s animal passion showed today. These organizations set up booths in the rain, and stayed all day pouring their hearts into this event to make it a success. Some of the amazing non-profit agencies were: Abandoned Pet Rescue, Husky Haven of Florida, Grateful Paws Dog and Cat Rescue, Good Karma Pet Rescue, The Doberman Rescue League, Naia’s Pet Rescue, and Suncoast Bassett Rescue. These great groups all survive through donations, good volunteers, hard work and sometimes luck. If you love animals and want to get involved, pick up a copy of Pet Junction magazine. The back pages have all the rescues, and trust me they are all in need of time, money and donated items. So get involved any way you can. At the end of the day everyone can make a difference. But at the end of this day, most of us went home with wet feet, new memories and wagging tails!
If you missed out on this event, here are two more coming up fast where you can make a new friend. On March 1st, just two weeks from now, our local Fat Tap Beer Bar and Eatery is doing a “Tail-End Party” from 3PM – 6 PM at their Oakland Park location. This is sure to be a lot of fun. Saturday, March 7th The Humane Society of Broward County will do their annual walk. More info at: http://www.WalkfortheAnimals.com This annual event is for a great cause, and everyone is invited to walk with their four-legged friend and make a difference to shelter animals.
Kim is a South Florida native with a background in Non-Profit work, Special Events, Public Speaking, Community Outreach, and Development. Oakland Park has been her home for 20 years. She is a creative catalyst who enjoys creating win-win relationships on whatever project she puts her mind to. She is involved in Animal Rescue, Art events, C.E.R.T., and an American Red Cross volunteer. In her spare time, she does photography, writing and the outdoors.