Westerville News & Public Opinion

OhioHealth 4th Fridays

11,000 people -- and 300 dogs -- expected for 4th Friday

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As August comes to a close, Uptown Westerville will be embracing the "dog days" of summer.

The second annual Uptown Bow Wow Dog Show, hosted from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, is the penultimate OhioHealth 4th Friday street festival of the year in Uptown, and promises one of its best turnouts.

Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau Executive Director Jeff Hartnell says the event -- run under different names for about eight years -- should draw around 11,000 people and 300 dogs.

"I've lived here for well over 30 years, and when I first took over, I wasn't sure why it was so big," he said. "Even back then it was the largest one.

"I've come to the conclusion that people here just love their canines."

The Yip-Yap Parade is always a large draw, and before the parade begins, judges will name winners in categories such as waggiest tale or best vocal performance (bark, howl, grunt).

The competition, Hartnell said, is second to the fun of the event.

"This isn't like a world championship," he said. "People take their dogs around, they get checked out and voted on and then we announce the winners in the evening."

The attitude among dogs and visitors is what makes the event a success, he said, noting that there have never been any problems with the animals interacting with one another.

"It's just such a lighthearted, pleasant time," he said. "We've only had one incident in eight years where any dog got snippy. And it was one woman's two dogs getting snippy with each other. ... I've said for a long time that people take care of the dogs better than people."

Some Uptown businesses will have their doors open for animals, and humans can visit during the extended shop hours.

Organizers also have arranged music and other performances, and a variety of pet services and street vendors will be in attendance.

"It's an incredibly friendly, fun event," Hartnell said. "I seriously don't know how to explain the popularity of this thing. It's just phenomenal."

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