DogFest, the UK’s biggest and best day out for dogs, their families and animal lovers of all ages is back! Now entering its sixth year, DogFest will take place in the grounds of three stunning stately homes: Knebworth House in Hertfordshire (11-12 May), Tatton Park in Cheshire (15-16 June) and Ashton Court Estate in Bristol (22-23 June).
The events once again promise a packed schedule of celebrity appearances and expert talks, jaw-dropping dog displays, educational sessions and fun, have-a-go activities. Everything is geared towards celebrating the amazing bond between dogs and people and promoting animal welfare. All this plus great live music sets, cool street food and shopping galore for pooches and people alike.
Special guests – Noel Fitzpatrick and Clare Balding
National treasure and presenter of Crufts’ TV coverage – and such shows as BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings, Clare Balding stars for the first time at DogFest. Famed for her love of dogs, she’ll headline on the main stage with anecdotes from her life – and those of her four-legged friends. Clare will lead the Great Dog Walk where she’ll chat to people all around the course (it has 2K and 4K routes). She’ll also award prizes for DogFest’s acclaimed ‘Fun Dog Show’.
TV’s Supervet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, known globally for his ground-breaking work will front a special interactive feature for younger visitors. The world-leading orthopaedic-neuro veterinary surgeon will also open The Great Dog Walk – now a much-loved event within DogFest. He’ll also deliver a special, insightful talk for fans purchasing VIP tickets.
A-listers of the furry variety will also be in evidence – at the ‘Dogs of Instagram’ Hound Hangout.
The main stage
On DogFest’s famous main stage, a number of well-known faces (to be revealed early next year) will host mass participation activities with hundreds of dogs and their owners all coming together.
They’ll include the canine ‘doga’ craze (AKA doggy yoga where pets and people de-stress together) and ‘wag & tone’ aerobics sessions. Huge group sessions will teach festival-goers basic obedience training – for dogs of all abilities. And there’ll be bands playing the stage throughout the weekend.
The Activity Arena will show back-to-back canine entertainment with jaw-dropping stunts and routines from the UK’s most skilful dog display teams. These super-talented animals leap through rings of fire, hurtle down zip wires, sniff out contraband and much more.
Other ‘Dogs with Jobs’ (such as rescue and assistance dogs) will showcase their extraordinary talents which transform people’s lives.
Then there’s fun all the way with dog dancing – where astonishing sequences to rival Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers can be seen.
Dog Diving is one of the biggest crowd pleasers at the festival: furry volunteers line up to leap into a massive aquasports pool, while brand new this year is Fido’s Lido, a giant paddling pool for pups and people alike!
Also new for 2019 is the Big Dog Dig, where pups can catch the scent of buried goodies and scrabble away to their heart’s content to get to the loot!
Temptation Alley is another firm favourite. Wayward pooches are called by owners through a course of irresistibly tempting toys and treats. And hay bale racing does what it says on the tin. Dogs large and small have a blast as they race over straw obstacles.
At DogFest even complete novices can try out agility: running up ramps, tearing through tunnels and clearing jumps like a pro, with encouragement from owners – and DogFest’s friendly helpers.
Flyball is a real high energy event. Dogs will have the chance to test their skills over hurdles, land on a springboard, catch a ball, turn in mid-air and rocket back to the finish line.
A ‘just for fun’ dog show will crown the ‘happiest dog, ‘the one with the waggiest tail’ and so on through to the ‘Best in Show’.
Education, education, education
DogFest’s guest experts are always a major draw and each weekend will be packed with talks, demonstrations and Q&A sessions on animal health and welfare, veterinary developments, dietary requirements, behavioural psychology and much more.
Pup Park – essential learning and development
Effective socialisation at an early stage is crucial to every puppy’s mental wellbeing and future development. So, brand new for 2019 is DogFest’s innovative ‘Pup Park’ where pups of all breeds shapes and sizes can meet other youngsters in a friendly and relaxed environment. (All must be inoculated and protected).
DogFest promises a weekend of ultimate summer fun for children too! While they can have a go at activities throughout the festival, one of the highlights will be a special kids’ obstacle course where they can race with their dogs over tyres, hay bales and scramble nets.
Around the show
Special ‘splash zones’ will be sited all around the park for dogs to have a drink and a refreshing plunge into bone-shaped pools of water. Shaded areas will also be provided.
Mutt must-haves – food, drink and shopping
Visitors can soak up the festival vibe throughout the show, with artisan food and coffee vans, gin-tastic bars and other wonderful food and drink stalls. Finally, DogFest’s Shopping Village is a must-see destination for serious retail therapy with food, fashion and fripperies, for man and beast alike.
Further information on all shows can be found at: www.dog-fest.co.uk
Tickets are available from https://dogfest.seetickets.com/content/ticket-options and the hotline – 0871 220 0260
Adult £16.50; Children under 6 – free; Children 6-16 £10.50; Family ticket (2 adults; 2 children) £45.00; Senior (over 60) £12.50; VIP (advance ticket sales only) £90.00
On the door:
o Adult £21.50; Children under 6 – free; Children 6-16 £16.25; Family ticket (2 adults; 2 children) £58.50; Senior (over 60) £13.65
DogFest can be found on social media at:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/DogFest
- Twitter: @DogfestUK
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/dog_fest/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFPHCGHO-M69v5nJwqubdqA