On Saturday, thousands of humans and canines alike will hit Santa Monica for Day of the Dog, with the largest festival for furry friends in North America taking place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A late contender for party of the summer has arrived on four legs.
On Saturday, thousands of humans and canines alike will hit Santa Monica for Day of the Dog, with the largest festival for furry friends in North America taking place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Two full blocks of Main Street, between Ocean Park Boulevard and Strand Avenue, will be filled with slobbery smiles and wagging tails.
A fundraiser for the non-profit animal welfare organization Just Love Animals Society, the free festival comes to Santa Monica after successful stints in several cities. The pack leaders are event producers Jordan Illingworth and Lonnie Powell, who used their former nightclub expertise to spice up the typical dog trade show.
The event is beating the last of the summer heat with a pool 80 feet in length, just one of over a dozen dog-friendly activities. The party doesn’t end in the pool, as there will also be a foam party as well as a ball pit for playtime. Chef Caroline Artiss of Migos Dog Food will be on-hand for canine brunch with a cowboy-chic theme.
To take memories of the day back home, multiple photo booth opportunities will be present, including a superhero-themed booth with capes, masks and a wind machine.
“We are the largest cultural movement celebrating the modern day family,” Powell said. “With pet ownership up over 40% since the pandemic, and over five million dog owners in Los Angeles County alone, there couldn’t be a better place for us to debut in California than Santa Monica. It’s iconic.”
The human-canine bond will be on full display during one of the day’s headliners, the running of the “bulls,” also known as French Bulldogs. The small but mighty stature of the French Bulldog may only be matched by that of the Dachshund, with Day of the Dog holding Wiener Dog Races as well as Corgi Races. Each of the events are available for on-site registration.
In total, over 70 exhibitors will be showcasing the latest in dog products and trends.
“Every year we just add more and more entertainment and attractions … it just has an energy here,” Powell said.
Illingworth and Powell started Just Love Animals Society, and eventually the festival, in honor of their first Great Dane, Floyd. The duo educates dog lovers on holistic health remedies as well as safe and ethical adoptions. Local rescues and nonprofits will have dogs available for adoption at Day of the Dog, though none will be going home that day due to the vetting process.
Powell says that the vetting process should also be self-examined, and that expanding a family to four legs should require some consideration.
“The biggest thing people don’t realize is pick a breed for your lifestyle … just know your dynamics,” Powell said. “Know where you’re at, how much time you have to exercise your pup, (know) you have the time to give your dog what it needs to thrive.”
The responsibility factor extends to Day of the Dog, Powell says, encouraging responsible pet ownership and leaving dogs home if they are not good in crowds or in heat. According to AccuWeather, temperatures are forecast in the 80s on Saturday afternoon.