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Paws in the Park: A Free Dog-Day Extravaganza

Weekly musings from Jeff Long, public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District.

We all enjoy a walk in the park, but there’s somebody who likes it even more than we could possibly imagine.

OK, technically, they’re not people, but we won’t let details get in the way of the great relationships we share with our dogs.

Just like their owners, dogs love the great outdoors, especially where there’s room to roam. So in 2004, the Fox Valley Park District –responding to a groundswell of input from local dog lovers – created the Lincoln Park Dog Park to provide an exclusive hangout for pooches on the near west side of Aurora (S. Harrison Avenue, just north of Prairie Street and east of Elmwood Drive).

The three-acre park has proven to be a wonderful place to meet and socialize – for people and dogs.

The park’s signature event returns on Sunday (Oct. 7), when the annual Paws in the Park festival takes place from noon to 4 p.m. For every dog, the excitement level is akin to that moment when its owner walks through the door each day.

In other words, there’ll be a lot of tails wagging and happy barking.

This free event, staged in conjunction with the Fox Valley Animal Welfare League, will feature upwards of 60 vendors offering dog-related supplies, services and information.

Event organizer Jennifer Huber of the Park District expects more than 200 people to attend this dog-day afternoon, which will include a blessing of all the animals at 12:30 p.m. by Pastor Jerry Ryhe.

A dog contest with more than 15 categories and prizes in each will be held, featuring awards for the dog with the best smile and the closest look-alike between owner and dog, among other contests.

Considering where they get to spend their free time, these dogs live the good life. Lincoln Park Dog Park was recently chosen by The Nutro Company as one of 30 locations nationwide to partake in the Room to Run program, a dog park appreciation project.

Meanwhile, the Park District is continuing to devote more park space for dog owners and their devoted friends. Last year, the north end of Gregory Island (on Indian Trail) was converted into a 3.5-acre dog park, with its naturalized setting along the Fox River and a separate, fenced area for smaller dogs.

Next year, a new 8-acre dog park will be opened as part of the expansion project at Stuart Sports Complex.

That’s right, these are a dog’s delight.

The only requirement is that each dog in these parks must have a Fox Valley Park District dog tag and a current rabies tag.

The dog tag requirement will be waived on Sunday at Paws in the Park in lieu of a $1 admission and current rabies tag. Tags will be available for purchase at the event – $15 per resident tag and $30 for non-residents (cash or check; no credit cards). As an added bonus, tags purchased Sunday will be good for the rest of 2012 and all of 2013.

Just the same as when nature calls for your dog, Paws in the Park will be held rain or shine – because every day is a great day to let the dogs out.

Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at jlong@fvpd.net

Fox Valley Park District
Upcoming Events

Friday, Oct. 5: Zombie Invasion 5K Run at Blackberry Farm, 5 p.m.
Columbus Day Weekend (Oct. 6-8): Pumpkin Weekends – and grand opening of the new Adventure Playground – at Blackberry Farm, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 7: Paws in the Park dog festival, Lincoln Park Dog Park, noon to 4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 19: Dad & Son Construct It Night, Eola Community Center, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20: Fall Festival, Red Oak Nature Center, 1 to 3 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 20-21: Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre: ‘I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning,’ Prisco Community Center, 1 p.m.

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