Wag! Fest fun for dogs and owners

(Posted Aug. 9, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Every dog has its day–and this year, that day is Aug. 18.

Prairie Oaks Metro Park, located between West Jefferson and Plain City, is once again hosting Wag!, a festival celebrating canine-human friendships. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free.

The annual event attracts thousands of dogs and their owners to the park’s Darby Bend Lakes Area. Visitors can browse dozens of exhibitor booths to learn about the latest in dog-focused products and services. Wag! also is the biggest event in Ohio helping dogs in need, bringing together dog rescue groups and organizations with potential donors and adopters.

An array of activities and demonstrations are on the agenda, too, including agility and disc performances by Sky Dogs and the Southern Ohio Flying K9s. An ice castle made of 2,500 pounds of ice will offer a place for pups to cool off. Plus, the park has trails to explore and lakes to jump in.

Since last year’s festival, Prairie Oaks Metro Park has installed a dock near what serves as the Water Bark Beach off-leash swim area during Wag! It will be open to any dogs that want to try dock diving. The dock will remain in place year-round.

Also new this year is a presentation by The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. Staff members will talk about the center’s Pet Heroes, animals whose owners enrolled them in clinical trials to evaluate new treatments for diseases, including cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Information gained from the trials is used to develop better treatments for pets and humans.

Back by popular demand is the Top Dog contest. Dogs and their owners can compete one or more of the following categories: most stylish, most athletic, most vocal, most talented, and doggy/owner look-alike. Registration runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Each winner receives a framed certificate, prize packet from Pet Valu, and “a year of wagging rights.”

The Wag! events schedule is as follows:

10:30 a.m.–Disc demonstrations and freestyle performances by Southern Ohio Flying K9s

11 a.m.–Meet The Breed Showcase presented by PetPeople

11:30 a.m.–Dog agility demonstration by Sky Dogs

Noon–Pet Heroes with The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center

12:30 a.m.–Disc demonstrations and freestyle performances by Southern Ohio Flying K9s

1 p.m.–Homemade dog treats demonstration with Pet•cetera Magazine

1:30 a.m.–Dog agility demonstration by Sky Dogs

2 p.m.–Top Dog contest

2:30 p.m.–Disc demonstrations and freestyle performances by Southern Ohio Flying K9s

The only pets permitted at Wag! are dogs. All dogs must be current on vaccinations, display current license and rabies tags, and get along with humans and other dogs of all sizes. All dogs must be leashed except when at the Water Bark Beach swim area. Leashes should be no longer than six feet. For safety reasons, retractable leashes are discouraged.

Go to wagfest.com for more information, including a full set of guidelines for bringing your four-legged friend to the event and a list of exhibitors.

The Prairie Oaks Metro Park’s Darby Bend Lakes Area is located at 2755 Amity Road, Hilliard.

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