Pup Strut

John’s Creek Recreation and Parks Division is gearing up for their 5th Annual Pup-A-Palooza celebration, which will take place Saturday, September 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Newtown Park. Get your furry friend dressed up in their best duds and get ready to eat, party and do some serious strutting.

The Newtown Dream Dog Park inspired the event after its opening in 2011. “The Newtown Dream Dog Park is one of the Southeast region’s best dog parks,” says Kirk Franz, recreation manager for the City of Johns Creek. “We wanted to put on an event that helped celebrate our dog park and our four-legged canine companions.”  The Dog Park is what doggy dreams are made of: one acre of fenced-in land, obstacles, sprinklers, artificial turf, drinking fountains, benches, shelters and trees.

Anywhere from 200-300 guests stroll into the park for the “admission free” event.

“There is great turnout, which continues to build year after year,” says Linda Hickey, a previous attendee and president of Jonny & Xena’s Spread the Words Foundation, a non-profit that raises developmental disability awareness through the help of their rescued dog, Xena. Attendees will need to sign a waiver before entering with their furry friend. If you are one of the first 100 guests to show up, your puppy will be the lucky recipient of a goody bag.

A variety of local vendors will be out and about, letting pet owners view and sample their products, while others will be providing tips and education. Some tables will be holding giveaways, so keep your eyes open for those fun freebies. Veterinarians, pet insurances companies, boarding services, dog clothing stores and delicious treat companies are a few of the businesses that can be expected.

A list of activities are on the itinerary, including the “Best Dressed” and “Best Trick” contests owners can sign pups up for when they arrive at the event.

“The contests are meant to be fun and light-hearted and a way to celebrate the relationships we have with our dogs,” says Franz. Anyone is welcome to participate. Local dog experts and City staff members have been among the judge panel in the past. Judges look for creativity, originality, and most importantly, dog and owner duos who are having the most fun on stage! Ribbons will be awarded to the winner, and runner up.

No worries if you and your best friend would rather skip the competition; you can have your cartoon portrait drawn by the onsite caricature artist, or perhaps hit up the bridges, tunnels and hoops in the play area while listening to the music. Designated areas are assigned for small and large dogs, so your poodle won’t have a run-in with a Great Dane.

While dogs will be chowing down on a variety of complimentary treats, free hotdogs will be available for the two-legged visitors, while supplies last.

“Looking back at each year I’ve attended this event, the thing that stands out most is the overwhelming joy that it brings everyone,” says Hickey, who has also served as an event judge. She advices to keep things fun, pet owners need to be responsible. “Keep your pup on a leash, be aware of your surroundings, and make sure your pup is comfortable meeting new furry friends.”

So slather on your sunscreen and get your dog dressed in their favorite outfit for a day of lighthearted competition, food, music and play. Pup-A-Palooza is a great family-oriented event that connects the community and supports local businesses.