Miamisburg goes to the dogs

Canine Carnival returns

By Joyell Nevins

Photo: The Canine Carnival takes place Sept. 21 at Riverfront park; photo: Casey Harshman

The city of Miamisburg is going to the dogs – and they love it.

Miamisburg hosts its ninth annual Canine Carnival Sunday, Sept. 21, at Riverfront Park for “dogs and the people they own.” Big, small, short-haired or full of fur, if it’s got four legs and barks, then this festival has it covered.

“You don’t need a dog [to come], although a love of dogs is good to have,” Sheila Russell, recreation programmer for Miamisburg’s Parks and Recreation Department, said.

The day kicks off with a “5k-9” for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The “Walk, Wag and Run” race is on the recreation trail along the Great Miami River, starting and finishing in the Riverfront Park. Prizes will be presented in each age division, which goes from 10 years old and under all the way to 80 and up.

Chip timing for the race will be provided by Speedy Feet, and post-race refreshments are offered by Anytime Fitness. Dog runners must be on a leash. On-site registration starts at 9 a.m. and is $25 per team, with the race kicking off at 10 a.m. The festival starts right afterward and goes until 3 p.m.

Russell brings her own 2-year-old yellow lab, Aisling, to participate in the festivities. Dogs and their owners – or vice versa – can be in the parade for dogs and their owners, visit vendors related to canine service and wellness or meet other adoptable rescue dogs.

Dogs like Aisling enjoy the obstacle and agility course and off-leash play zone. There are also activities for the non-canine kids, and plenty of food options for human and doggie. Aisling can’t be in the Weiner Dog Race, though – she’s a little big for that one. This year, that event will be in the off-leash play zone with the owners on the side to urge their dogs on.

“It’s a very popular spectator sport,” Russell grinned.

Dogs and their owners can also participate in several contests. There’s a dog/owner lookalike contest, sillest pet tricks and best-groomed prizes for the doggie with the best ’doo. For the costume contest, one of the previous winners put her Chihuahua in the middle of a “taco shell” and acted like she was hawking tacos at a sporting event. Other clever ideas have been pilgrims and indians and a Great Dane knight – complete with sword and helmet.

The last festival introduced the “best howler” contest, which Russell called a “spectator hit.” Winning breeds were a blue tick coonhound, a bloodhound and a sheltie. All contests take place on the main stage.

The festival began at Library Park, but five years ago moved to the riverfront and has continued to grow since then, drawing up to 3,000 attendees from across the Miami Valley. Russell noted that over the years, dog lovers have come back and continued to spread the word.

“Each year it’s gotten bigger,” Russell said. “I think it’s due to people’s love for their dogs and giving them opportunities to take the dogs out where they’re accepted.”

The vendors cater to the canines, too. Some of the vendors this year will be the Humane Society of Greater Dayton; Dayton Invisible Fence; It’s Mar Embroidery Designs; Kritter Sitter Pet Sitting; LUV49S; Ohio Pug Rescue; Paws and Remember; SICSA Pet Adoption Center and Friends of SICSA; Sit, Stay and Play Dog Park; and Twin Maples Vetrinary Hosital. Vendors cover an expanse of services, from security to photos to general health. But Russell noted every booth will have a bag of doggie food and other treats to give away.

Kiddie pools will be spaced throughout the park so dogs can stay hydrated, and there will be a giant water truck to dispense water as well.

“It’s a great event,” Russell enthused. “If you don’t leave with a chuckle, then you’re not a dog lover. And if you’re not a dog lover, then I think you will be by the end of our event.”

The city requests all canine guests are at least six months old, wear current ID tags, are up-to-date on all shots and, if a female dog, not be in season. All dog handlers must be at least 13 years of age and control their dogs at all times. Owners will be responsible for cleaning up after their furry friend.


The Canine Carnival, sponsored by Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital, Invisible Fence, Paws & Remember and Fifth Third Bank, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m.3 p.m. at Riverfront Park, 3 N. Miami Ave. in Miamisburg. For more information, please call 937.866.8999 or visit


Reach DCP freelance writer Joyell Nevins at

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Joyell Nevins
Joyell believes in the power of the written word, a good cup of coffee, and sometimes, the need for a hug (please, no Tommy Boy references). Follow her on her blog “Small World, Big God” at or reach her at

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