On May 3, dogs will parade up and down the WOW Trail in Laconia for the 4th Annual Bow Wow Fest, a fundraiser for local police departments’ K-9 units that includes “Wag-It Games” and a pooch parade.
If you have a pup who wants to participate or you just want to watch the fun, it all starts at 7:30 a.m. at the head of the trail at Lake Opechee Inn and Spa.
“To my knowledge, it’s the only dog parade in New Hampshire. After a long winter, it’s great to get out, and whether you have a dog or not, it’s great to come and see all of the different species,” said Claire Hebert, community relations executive at Melcher & Prescott Insurance, which sponsors the event.
“The Bow Wow event [is] to help our local police departments’ K-9 divisions better keep our public resources safe,” said Chris Volpe, CEO of Melcher & Prescott Insurance. “Of course, we are also animal lovers and it pleases us to be able to help ensure the health of both Ike and Titan.”
Ike and Titan are two of the dogs that work with police departments in the area. Ike will be at the parade with Officer Adam Vansteensburg of the Gilford Police Department. Vansteensburg will give a demonstration on what it’s like to work with a police dog and how it helps the community.
“Part of today’s best police practice is to connect with the community, not just in the worst of times but also in the best of times,” Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams said. “From its inception, the Bow Wow Fest has focused on bringing families with and without canines together for a kick-start to spring as well as supporting our K-9’s with donations.”
Along with the dog parade, there will be a pet blessing from the local church, a costume judging competition and “Wag-it Games,” where awards will be given out based on agility.
Kids can come to watch the dogs and do other activities like face painting, and the first 100 will receive a dog balloon animal.
“This year the Laconia Fire Department is loaning us their newest ladder fire truck so kids can go over, chat with a firemen and probably climb some portion of the fire truck on the premise the entire time,” Hebert said.
The WOW Trail was built four years ago with the initiative to create a rail trail for walking in the Lakes Region, connecting Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Winnisquam and Lake Opechee through Laconia and neighboring towns.
“[This event is] about public recognition for the trail and meeting others and their dogs. It’s a common awareness, and it’s a donation to the K-9 dogs,” Hebert said.
Pre-registration deadline for dog owners is Thursday, April 24 ($10 with free T-shirt); thereafter, it’s $10 plus $5 for a T-shirt. Registration forms can be found at wowtrail.org.
As seen in the April 24, 2014 issue of the Hippo.