Expanded Hewitt Dog Days event coming Saturday

Wiener dog races, a petting zoo and a one-man circus act with animals will be among the attractions Saturday for the fifth annual Hewitt Dog Days festival. And organizers hope this year’s early-fall start date will mean cooler temperatures than years past.

The free event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hewitt Park, 801 S. Hewitt Drive. Parking costs $2, and dogs must stay on leashes for the event sponsored by the Hewitt Public Library.

Festivities will also include vendors, food and a ceremony to honor service dogs.

The Hewitt Police Department’s new drug dog, Shaka, will give a demonstration. The German shepherd joined the department this month after moving from Europe.

Registration for wiener dog races will be open at 10:30 a.m. at the event. The first race starts at 12:30 p.m., and the last one starts at 1:30 p.m. First-, second- and third-place finishers will receive cash prizes during an awards program at 1:45.

Festival attendees will have the chance to get a “glam fur photo” with their pet, and donate dry dog food for the local animal shelter. Those ready to adopt a fur baby will have the chance at on-site adoption centers.

The event typically draws 700 to 1,000 people, City Manager Adam Miles said.

“The trick with this year is we changed the date from September mainly due to the cooler weather,” Miles said.

The display of more than 70 baby and adult animals as part of a petting zoo will also be new this year, Miles said. Donations are accepted for the petting zoo.