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Paws in the Park: Dogs get their day at Woofstock

It was best paws forward Saturday, Sept. 10, at Yunker Park as dozens of dogs and dog lovers took part in the Mokena Community Park District’s annual Woofstock and Pet Parade.

The event made its return after being postponed in May due to the weather.

As in years past, Woofstock offered a plethora of canine-related activities and information from dog professionals and pet supply vendors.

To kick-start the festivities, spectators enjoyed taking a look at the dogs marching in the Pet Parade. A number of attendees were part of the procession, which circled the grassy areas of Yunker Park. Also included in the parade was a snake.

Dog lovers went on to watch as their pooches competed in a variety of activities, including a costume contest, hotdog relay and ultimate Frisbee catch.

New to Woofstock this year, the Park District added a new competition dubbed as Musical Sit.

“It went pretty well,” said Rebecca Phetteplace, recreation supervisor of special events for Mokena Community Park District. “There [were] two full heats of it, which is two separate games, and then a final game.”

Mokena’s Chelsea Monfries and her dog, Bernadette, walked away the top winners of Musical Sit and said it felt good to win.

“I’m very proud of her,” she said.

Monfries said she and Bernadette worked hard to get to this point.

“She’s in training to be a therapy dog,” she said, noting they train with Woodlawn Canine Academy.

Monfries added, “The competitions always fun.”

This year’s event featured booths manned by 12 vendors and four sponsors. They, too, aimed to engage attendees by organizing games and informing them of the various products and services available to dogs.

Kathy Hummitsch, also of Mokena, said she is glad she and her family’s dog, Daisy, dropped in for Woofstock.

“[Daisy] likes being around dogs,” she said.

Hummitsch approached some of the vendors on site seeking information and wanted to learn more about the various services they offer for dogs.

“[Daisy’s,] I mean, only a year-and-a-half old, so we’re kind of still trying to train [her,] and, we’re looking for a vet and all that kind of stuff,” she said.

Hummitsch said she found the information provided by the vendors to be useful

“I think we’re going to probably hit one of them because the vet that [Daisy] has now is not local, so we’re looking for a more local vet,” she said. “Like I said, [it’s] the first [dog] I’ve ever had, so I’m not sure what’s in the area for the dogs.”

Phetteplace credits this year’s excitement for Woofstock to having “beautiful weather” for people to enjoy.

Woofstock brought in roughly 170 dogs last year. This time around, the event lured in more than 200 dogs.

“You don’t see as many animal or dog/canine events in the area,” Phetteplace said. “Every Park District usually has one, but it’s only one [event] really a year.

The event’s popularity rings for many, Phetteplace said.

“I’d say it’s definitely something unique that brings in a lot more people,” she said. “A lot of people are probably wanting to check out the new expansion.”

The Mokena Community Park District recently finished the expansion on site to include a new amphitheater, splash pad and dog park.

“I think [Woofstock] was a huge way to promote that, as well,” Phetteplace said. “We have a ton of dogs registered [to the dog park,] and I would say we’ve had a lot of happy people over there. There’s almost always dogs in there.”

Phetteplace gave kudos to Nighthawk Veterinary Clinic for helping the Park District to put on Woofstock.

“They ended up being our judges for today’s event, and they’re also one of the huge sponsors for today’s event, as well,” she said.

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