CSBarks Dog Festival in Carol Stream is celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend, and what better way to celebrate than with birthday cake?
But only for the dogs, of course.
If you goWhat: Fifth annual CSBarks Dog Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15
Where: Ross Ferarro Town Center, Gary Avenue and Lies Road, Carol Stream
Cost: Free admission, fees for some activities
Man's best friend will be able to have his cake -- made by Ledfoots Pet Bakery in Genoa, Ill., -- and eat it too during the annual Carol Stream Park District festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Ross Ferarro Town Center.
The event has grown so much in all facets -- attendance, activities and exhibitors -- that organizers moved it two years ago from Armstrong Park to the Town Center at Gary Avenue and Lies Road.
It started as a result of a 2009 park district survey of residents that found many wanted to have something they could do with their dogs in town, said Kelly Carbon, the district's community relations manager and director of the dog festival for all five years.
And so the park district opened a fenced-in Bark Park near North Avenue and Kuhn Road for dogs to run leash-free, but Carbon said she and her co-workers also started thinking about programming opportunities for canines and their owners.
"We came up with this idea of having this free community event that people could come to with their dogs. We thought we'd have a few hundred people at the first event. We had 500," Carbon said.
Last year's event had 5,000 human attendees, many with their dogs. But plenty of folks don't come with a canine companion.
"The great thing about this particular event is you don't have to bring your dogs with you to have an outstanding time. It's for people with or without dogs," Carbon said.
"If you want to adopt a dog, you can come to learn about different types of breeds. And there's plenty of performances that will captivate and keep people excited about the day."
New this year is the dock diving contest by the Ultimate Air Dogs that will feature three competitive rounds, called splashes, and a finals round.
The event is open to all breeds and any size of dog. Dogs that have never competed before will be able to give dock diving a try as well, Carbon said.
Also new this year are the Weiner Dog Races sponsored by West 'Burb Wieners, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for the medical treatment of rescued pets.
There's a whole host of other activities planned throughout the day, including a disc dogs performance by Naperville-based Windy City K-9 Disc Club, a parade of breeds throughout the main arena for all dogs and their owners, and an award presentation with the Addison-based K-9 Comfort Dogs, which has made headlines across the country for consoling victims during tragedies such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings.
Dogs can try out their agility skills on an obstacle course, and the German Shepherd Club of Chicago will perform an agility demonstration.
The event also will feature 90 exhibitors, including pet groomers, trainers, sitting services, veterinarians and nonprofit groups.