This weekend is for the dogs.
Mountain Dogs hosts the first Canine Carnival Saturday and Sunday at the Eagle River Center and Eagle County Fairgrounds. The weekend is a benefit for Eagle Valley Humane Society and Vail Pet Partners and includes entertainment, contests, clinics and demonstrations for everyone and their furry friends.
Dock Dogs competitions will also be part of the event and it alone is anticipated to bring 400 to 500 people and 75 to 100 dogs to the venue.
General admission is $5 per person and children under 5 get in free. Each dog must also be registered before it is allowed into the carnival and must be on a 4- to 6-foot leash. For the VPP Doggie Dash, the Doggie Mudder and Dirty Dog Mud Run, there is a one-time, per-dog registration fee of $20 for an all-access pass. Dock Dogs has its own registration and fees as well.
If registering for Dock Dogs, the carnival admission and registration is waived. All registrations will be done on site, except for Dock Dogs, which has the option of pre-registering by July 29.
"We hope to make this an annual event and draw people up from Denver, where most of these events are usually held," said Susan Lan, one of the Canine Carnival organizers.
Lan said the Dock Dogs event in Avon was canceled this year after last year's low turnout and the VPP Doggie Dash was almost canceled as well. By rolling these and other events into one venue, the Mountain Dogs organization aims to boost turnout and fundraising.
"We want to build this enough so that Vail Pet Partners and Humane Society can grow," Lan said.
'Just for fun'
Other contests open to all through the $5 general admission include a talent and costume contest, and contests and clinics for agility, K9 nose work, fly ball, sheep herding and more. Many events are casual, such as the VPP Doggie Dash.
"The Doggie Dash is not competitive and not very muddy," Lan said. "It's just for fun and it raises money for VPP."
Vendors and goodie bags will also be on site. The first 250 attendees get free "wag bags" filled with dog items.
The events happen from approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday features the Doggie Mudder; talent and costume, fly ball contests; K9 Good Citizen testing; agility demos and camps; free dog training; agility kids camp; and a silent auction. The talent and costume contests are at 10 a.m. and include categories such as best stupid trick, big dog, little dog, cute dog, ugly dog, individual and team costume.
"Agility is where the dog has to do things like jump through hoops, go through tunnels and over seesaws," Lan said. "There will be clinics for people who just want to try it. The nose work stuff tests a dog's sense of smell and is good for dogs that do better without other dogs around."
Sunday features the Dirty Dog mud Run; Doggie Dash; agility demos and camps; K9 Nose Work; a Demo Craze for agility, fly ball and dance; more free dog training, silent auction and agility demos and camps, Canine Good Citizen testing; and a sheep and duck herding demo.
Meanwhile, Dock Dogs events will be happening both days as well. Dock Dogs registration starts at 9 a.m. both days. The events include Big Air, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve.
If Lan's name sounds familiar, it is. She and her dog, Spring, received local fame in the Vail Daily last April after Spring was lost and found after 13 days in the wilderness outside Wolcott.
"There was a group of people I had known for a couple years through dog training," Lan said. "We were going to Denver for competitions and had been talking about organizing an event for the mountain region since February but hadn't done much. After Spring was lost, they helped me find her and it really brought us together for organizing this. The experience basically kicked us into high gear."