It’s been called “the premiere dog event in San Francisco,” and you won’t hear any argument from us. With everything from raffles and carnival games to contests and celebrity judges, Saturday’s sunny Dogfest delivered in a big way.
Created as a fundraiser for nearby McKinley Elementary School, the event is designed after a school carnival (think popcorn and cotton candy) with a dog-friendly twist.
“DogFest bridges the gap between the McKinley Elementary School community and the very generous Castro/Duboce Park Triangle/Haight Community that surrounds us,” said Robin Dutton-Cookston, VP for Fundraising at McKinley Elementary. “Many people in the area have dogs instead of children, and DogFest is the traditional school carnival with a little something for everyone.”
Hula hoops? Check. Facepainting? You betcha. Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) acting as emcee and local drag star Heklina performing a stirring tribute to Cruella de Vil alongside the McKinley Elementary School Dancers? You better believe it.
And let’s not forget the event’s honorees that came out in full force, from the tallest Great Dane to the smallest Chihuahua puppy (I’m looking at you, Sprinkles), and everything in between.
Cutthroat competitions in such categories as best dog/owner couple, best trick, best bark and most “ear-resistible” provided entertainment for the family-friendly crowd, as well as more than a few blue ribbons for deserving contestants.
Judging the event was a classically San Francisco spread of characters, from District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener to Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik , local author Daniel Alarcón, and Heklina (channeling Cruella in a bold black and white ensemble).
“It’s phenomenal how this event has grown since the first year it started,” said Mirkarimi, who’s acted as a Dogfest judge since the event’s inception four years ago. “It makes the neighborhood proud, and it makes the city proud.” As for the judging process, he said that it was fun, but tough. “You want them all to win.”
Leah Garchik agreed, saying she had a ball at the judge’s table.
“It was stressful deciding, but satisfying in the end to see excellent dogs rewarded.”
Congrats to all the four-legged champions, and kudos to everyone who organized yesterday’s fantastic ‘Fest. We’ll leave you with a few more snapshots from the event: