Libertyville’s Dog Days has nothing to do with the heat
Libertyville, IL 6/28/12 Gucci an eight year old English Bulldog owned by Clay Lyon of Libertyville, will be competing the upcoming Dg Days of Summer Festival in Libertyville. Clay tosses a tennis ball into the kiddie pool as Gucci chases after it. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
EVENT: Dog Days of Summer, amateur and professional jumpiing dogs
LOCATION: Downtown Libertyville
DATES: July 6-8
MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.pamperedpupz.com for a complete listing of events
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:13AM
LIBERTYVILLE -- It’s the Dog Days of Summer in Libertyville — and not just because of the sweltering heat.
The fourth annual Dog Days of Summer festival, featuring dogs from Libertyville area and throughout the region jumping into a large pool of water, will be held Friday through Sunday, July 6-8 in downtown Libertyville.
Last year, the event drew an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people to the downtown, according to Bill Kaiser, owner of Pampered Pupz in Libertyville, who produces the Dogs Days festival.
The three-day event is a regional competition for DockDogs, with dogs competing from throughout the Midwest for the chance to compete in the national DockDogs championships later this year.
“This is the largest event they have in the country in terms of the number of people who show up,” said Kaiser. “Even the national finals don’t draw as many people. It just shows that the people of Libertyville love their dogs.”
The event also features 15 local dogs competing for the chance to become Libertyville’s Big Air Dog.
Kaiser said some of the dogs for the local competition were chosen through ballot boxes set up at local sponsors of the event and others were fan favorites chosen on the PamperPupz Facebook page. Tryouts were also being held on Thursday to select the final five local dogs in the competition.
The dogs jump into a large pool of water set up in the parking lot of the PNC Bank.
PamperPupz this year is sponsoring an English bull dog named Gucci, who will be competing for the first time in the Libertyville competition on Friday night.
Clay Lyon of Libertyville, who owns Gucci, has been coming to the Dog Days of Summer event every year with his family and he decided to enter his dog into the competition this year.
Lyon said he was inspired by a bulldog two years ago named Dakota, who jumped 16.6 feet and finished second in the local competition that year. However, he does not expect his dog to jump nearly as far as Dakota.
“If he does five or six feet, I’d be happy,” he said, with a laugh.
Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler with throw out the first ball for the opening ceremonies of Libertyville’s Big Air Dog Local Competition, which starts at 6 p.m. on Friday.
“Dog Days is a lot of fun,” said Weppler. “We get a lot of people to the downtown and they have a good time. I’ll be there with my dog. It’s just a lot of fun for residents.”
Kaiser said Mickey Finn’s will also be sponsoring a band in Cook Park on Friday night following the local competition.
The weekend activities on Saturday and Sunday will feature DockDogs from Illinois, Wisconsin and surrounding states competing for a chance to appear in the national championships later this year. There will also be other canine-related events throughout the weekend in Cook Park, including a Lake County Sheriff K-9 demonstration, a doggie fashion show, a pet parade and Frisbee dogs on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, there will be a pet blessing ceremony.
There will also be exhibitors including dog rescue groups and veterinarians throughout the weekend.