will signal the return of Wagfest at Mitchell Park in
Brookfield. There’s entertainment for pets and humans
alike at the Elmbrook Humane Society event on the
city’s west side.
Borkowski/Special to TimeOut
Greenfield Park in West Allis, the 12th annual Doggie Dip
welcomed canine swimmers on Labor Day. In New York City, a Dog
Film Festival has been scheduled — presumably for human
audiences. In Florida, Key Largo’s Yappy Hours have targeted
canines as well as their owners.
Dogtoberfest will come to Tucson, Ariz., Howl-O-Ween in the
Park to Cincinnati and a Wine Walk (“sure to be a tail
wagging good time”) to suburban Seattle. But dog lovers need
not travel to distant parts of the country for canine-related
celebrations. This Saturday, in Brookfield’s Mitchell Park,
Wagfest 2016 — a
fundraiser for the Elmbrook Humane Society — will run
from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Annual Wagfest is the place for animals and their people to
come together as a community and celebrate the bond between
them,” according to publicists of the event whose slogan is
“Fun. Sun. Fur.” Located next to the Wilson Center for the
Arts, the venue’s address is 19900 River Road. Admission and
parking are free and transportation will be provided — for
dogs and their handlers alike — from the parking lots
to the festival proper.
Three Samoyeds cool
off at Cool Waters Family Aquatic Park at Greenfield
Park in West Allis during Monday’s Doggie Dip when the
pool goes to the dogs.
Wagfest, attendees will have access to restaurant foods and
more than 70 vendors’ wares, raffles, and dog activities
including games and painting. Music will be provided by Joe
Richter and Those Fabulous Tremtones.
some 5,000 people have turned up at recent Wagfests, EBHS
Executive Director Heather
Gehrke said. She added that a similar number — plus perhaps
1,000 dogs — is expected for Saturday’s extravaganza.
Wagfest offers plenty to occupy human beings, whether or not
they come with canines, she said. “We have a live band, a
beautiful park and there are non-dog-related things to do.”
year there are a couple of cats that come,” added Gehrke. No
feline is known to have ever been traumatized or to have
generated trouble of any sort by showing up for the event (at
are not permitted). Among the festival’s vendors is a
nonprofit cat rescue operation. Sale offerings include items
for both cats and dogs, plus items related to neither — such
as candles and jewelry.
people-friendly features will
be three 50/50 raffles and stands representing the
culinary of eight restaurants, among them first-time
participants Blackfinn Ameripub of Brookfield and BelAir
Cantina of Wauwatosa. “There will definitely be a good
variety of things to eat,” Gehrke insisted.
their masters are eating and drinking, dogs in attendance will
be able to partake of puptinis — chicken or beef broth
concoctions served in plastic martini glasses.
there’s the Doggy Dining Dash, a new activity in 2016.
“Think of a pie-eating contest for humans,” Gehrke said by
way of explanation.
what the Doggy Dining Dash “pies” will consist of has not
been decided as of this writing, but they “will obviously be
safe for dogs,” she said. The dashes will occur hourly from
noon to 4 p.m., with each hour’s fastest eater being
declared a winner.
in the area of innovations, “we’re adding a VIP bar area
this year,” Gehrke noted. For a price, people can secure one
of 40 VIP spots available, entitling them to a free Puptini, a
free human beverage and private bathroom access.
are still only a handful of events like this (Wagfest)” in
southeastern Wisconsin, said Gehrke. In previous years, some
attendees have reported traveling hundreds of miles to attend
Wagfest, she said. (Pet-friendly hotels in the Waukesha area,
and elsewhere, can be located
online at www.bringfido.com.) About 200 volunteers are
involved in setting up for the yearly event and helping on
Wagfest day itself. Wagfest’s planners number 15
sort of like planning a wedding every year,” laughed Gehrke,
who as the EBHS executive director of 3 1/2 years heads a
staff of 22. “But it’s fun,” she added.
assist about 2,000 animals a year,” Gehrke noted of the EBHS,
which serves seven municipalities in Waukesha County. “We
take care of dogs and cats and small animals” — that third
category including even reptiles at times, if somewhat more
mainstream pets like gerbils on a more consistent basis. For
information regarding animal adoptions, and other EBHS-related
info, go to ebhs.org.
awaits canines and their owners:
- For anyone having to miss Wagfest on Saturday, or anyone
attending and craving more of the same, a Barktoberfest
celebration is scheduled from 1-6 p.m. Sept. 17 at Milwaukee
County’s Estabrook Park, 4400 N. Estabrook Drive, Milwaukee.
admission-free celebration will feature food and drink (the
park boasts a beer garden), live music, vendors, dog agility
courses, and demonstrations by the Milwaukee House of
Corrections K-9 Unit. Barktoberfest is a ROMP-related
happening; the acronym stands for Residents for Off-Leash
Milwaukee Parks. ROMP was also a sponsor, with the Milwaukee
County Parks, of Monday’s Doggie Dip at Greenfield Park.
additional information, go to
Smieja, communications and marketing coordinator for the
Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County, reports that
Move Your Mutt for HAWS — a run/walk including 10K, 5K
and 1-mile components — is slated for 9 a.m. Oct. 9 at
Genesee Lake Road Park, 37505 Genesee Lake Road, Summit. Dogs
are welcome in the 5K and mile categories and there’ll be
food for them at the finish line.
(slogan: “Building a No-Kill Community”) also has two
upcoming events that are not dog-specific. An Avian
Extravaganza seminar, addressing such subjects as the current
backyard poultry trend and avian first aid, is scheduled for 1
p.m. Sunday at the HAWS facility, 701 Northview Road,
Waukesha. Stayin’ Alive, a four-hour disco party fundraiser,
is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 21. Log on to hawspets.org or call
Waukesha Kennel Club offers all-day Pet College Oct. 1 and a
program (“designed to get dog owners and their puppies off
to a good start”) and dog obedience classes starting
Wednesday. Go to email@example.com.
Cedarburg Community Pool
first annual doggie dip 08-31-16