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Your Ultimate Guide to Cardiff Dog Days of Summer

There’s a lot to take in at this pet-lovers’ paradise. Make sure you don’t miss a thing.

What started as a modest community celebration of dogs and the people who love them has blossomed into the region’s premiere pet-lovers’ festival. Yes, we’re talking about the one and only Cardiff Dog Days of Summer, slated for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you’ve been to the festival, you know there’s a lot to take in. Patch is here to help you with a breakdown of some highlights you won’t want to miss this year. Scan the guide based on what appeals to you and your dog, then plan to head out this weekend and enjoy some fun in the sun with your pooch.

If you have a sporty dog, this will keep him busy:

  • Start the day off with a dog-friendly Zumba class. Instructor Marcela Alva-Capristan is offering free 30-minute class at 11:30 a.m. in the Kids Zone.
  • After that, your dog can cool off at Dog Beach, also located in the Kids Zone. There will be plenty of kiddie pools for your pup to splash around in.
  • Be sure to swing by the agility course by the Main Stage, in front of Besta-Wan Pizza. The approximately 50-foot course is open to all skill levels, and is brought to you by K9 Connection and Zoom Room.
  • After all that activity, let your dog enjoy some well-deserved rest. Dog TV will have couches and televisions set up along Aberdeen Drive, so your pup can lounge properly.

If your pooch prefers to be pampered, add these to your schedule:

  • Treat your mini diva to a little glamour with a manicure, courtesy of 20 Lounge. That’ll run you $5—or, for $10, you and your dog can both have your nails painted. Did someone say matching colors?
  • Once she’s ready for her close up, take your pooch to strut her stuff down the red carpet near the corner of Liverpool and Newcastle, across from Cardiff Library. Dirty Dogs will have a professional photographer on hand, so you and your dog can pose like starlets.
  • And don’t miss the doggie fashion show from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage off Aberdeen and New Castle. Dirty Dogs is hosting the event, and some of its groomers plan to show off some impressive work on local dogs—like Zuccca, a Golden Retriever who sports a lion's mane with a mohawk (see attached photo).

Keep your camera handy. A few celebrity dogs will make guest appearances:

  • Chopper the Biker Dog is a Boston Terrier who has won the hearts of thousands from atop his miniature motorcycle, which he’s been riding since he was just a pup. He should be easy to spot. He’ll be dog wearing a Harley Davidson vest, and sporting tiny sunglasses.
  • Ruger is a German Shepherd who has starred in big screen productions, including Cats and Dogs Revenge of Kitty Galore and Beverly Hills Chihuahuas parts one, two, and three. If your kids would like to have their picture snapped with Ruger, there will be professional photographer on-hand.
  • Floyd is a skateboarding Bull Dog, who you may have spotted cruising on his board down Neptune or over near Swamis. If you'd like to see him in action, watch the videos attached to this story.

If you’re on the hunt for some good deals, don’t miss these bargains:

  • The silent auction is offering plenty of items you’ll want to bid on—including a flat screen TV, Patagonia gear, and a three-night stay at a luxury home in Park City, Utah. Check out all the items up for grabs near the Main Stage, by the food booths.
  • Dirty Dogs is organizing a scavenger hunt that offers you discounts if you complete it. Swing by any of the Dirty Dogs booths to get started. You’ll be asked to visit seven other vendor booths and get a stamp at each. Once you’re done, you’re eligible to get a 20 percent discount at Dirty Dogs, plus a free do-it-yourself dog wash (value $14) when you spend more than $25. Also, the first 25 participants who spend more than $100 at the store will get two free movie tickets to Cineopolis.

If you want to enter your pup in one of the contests, here’s what you need to know:

  • There are seven categories this year, including Best Smile, which is new this year. You can view all the categories on the event’s website.
  • Once you pick a category, check the online schedule to find out what time it’s happening on the Main Stage. You need to sign up for each contest at least 10 minutes before it starts, and it costs $5 to enter.
  • Encinitas City Councilwoman Teresa Barth will emcee the contests, and a panel of local judges will pick the finalists. The top three winners in each category will get goodie bags filled with dog prizes.

Here are some other highlights you should have on your radar:

  • The Seaside Center for Spiritual Living will start the day with a blessing of the animals from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on the Main Stage.
  • More than 40 rescue groups from across the region will be at the event, representing just about every breed of dog. If you’re in the market for a new pup, Rescue Ally is not to be missed.
  • If you’ll have wee ones in tow, be sure to swing by the Kids Zone. Art a la Carte 101 will have crafts for children, and the Bird Ladies will have all sorts of exotic feathery creatures to dazzle kids.
  • There will be more than 180 vendors onsite selling all sorts of pet goods, pet art, and gift items for humans, too.
  • Friends of Cardiff and Carlsbad State Beaches are launching a park design contest for the area surrounding the Cardiff Kook. For more information about entering, be sure to check out their booth near the alley by Aberdeen Drive.

Before you head out the door, consider this:

  • Parking will be limited, so carpool or ride your bike if possible. Or better yet, walk your dog there.
  • You’ll likely be collecting a lot of informational literature and freebies, so it’s not a bad idea to bring a re-useable bag to carry everything.
  • There will be plenty of water for dogs, but you may want to bring a couple bottles for yourself, too. There will also be fair-style food and drinks for sale, so bring cash.
  • If you plan to let your dog swim at Dog Beach, you may want to pack a towel.
  • There will be plenty of bags to clean up after your pet, so there’s no need to haul those along.

For more information about Cardiff Dog Days of Summer, please visit cardiffdogdaysofsummer.com.

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The Drake Center for Veterinary Care August 10, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Great guide! Don't forget to stop by The Drake Center's booth, too—we'll have treats, a dog trivia prize wheel, super cute T-shirts for sale to benefit the Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE) and photos with My Puppy Dog Tales Pet and Family Photography!

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