Wiener dog races, a petting zoo and a one-man circus act with animals will be among the attractions Saturday for the fifth annual Hewitt Dog Days festival. And organizers hope this year’s early-fall start date will mean cooler temperatures than years past.
The free event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hewitt Park, 801 S. Hewitt Drive. Parking costs $2, and dogs must stay on leashes for the event sponsored by the Hewitt Public Library.
Festivities will also include vendors, food and a ceremony to honor service dogs.
The Hewitt Police Department’s new drug dog, Shaka, will give a demonstration. The German shepherd joined the department this month after moving from Europe.
Registration for wiener dog races will be open at 10:30 a.m. at the event. The first race starts at 12:30 p.m., and the last one starts at 1:30 p.m. First-, second- and third-place finishers will receive cash prizes during an awards program at 1:45.
Festival attendees will have the chance to get a “glam fur photo” with their pet, and donate dry dog food for the local animal shelter. Those ready to adopt a fur baby will have the chance at on-site adoption centers.
The event typically draws 700 to 1,000 people, City Manager Adam Miles said.
“The trick with this year is we changed the date from September mainly due to the cooler weather,” Miles said.
The display of more than 70 baby and adult animals as part of a petting zoo will also be new this year, Miles said. Donations are accepted for the petting zoo.
A performance by Circus Chicken Dog from Austin will also be a first for the event. Circus Chicken Dog has made appearances on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and Animal Planet shows, according to the group’s website. Five dogs will perform a variety of tricks while six-time Ironman Darren Peterson’s parrot Lauren McCaw shows off.
“Everything in the show was just something I was interested in,” Peterson said. “I would go and see a puppet show and the puppet show I saw, or juggling show I saw, would be an hour of just that one thing. I play the accordion also and teach some juggling lessons. Everything in the show are things I was interested in doing on my own. I just combined it all into my own one-hour show.”
While the entire city event will be focused on dogs, Lauren McCaw will try to steal the spotlight, he said.
“She’s very self-aware. She loves the attention,” Peterson said. “When someone points a camera at her she’ll spread her wings and do her smile. She’s really great.”
The Hewitt Police Department and Hewitt Animal Control will cover the cost of 75 microchips for Hewitt residents’ dogs during the event. The first 75 residents with their pup and proof of residency in the form of a driver’s license, water bill or utility bill will get a free microchip. After the first 75, the microchips will be offered for $15. City ordinance requires all dogs be microchipped.
“If your pet gets lost, the most reliable way to ensure that they will be returned to you is if they are microchipped,” Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin said. “Hewitt Animal Control often finds animals that have lost their collar and tags. Microchips will stay with your pet for life.”
For more information on the event, visit hewittchamber.com/dogdays.