Dogs have tail wagging time at Fido Fest

The pudgiest pugs, friendliest golden retrievers and poofiest pomeranians came out to James City County Parks and Recreations’ second annual Fido Fest Saturday afternoon.

Joy Johnson, special events coordinator for the county, said she started Fido Fest to fill a hole that had been created with the discontinuation of Bark in the Park.

“There was a lull for about two years or so and we decided to bring back some sort of springtime or late winter type event for the dog community,” Johnson said.

Johnson said there was plenty to do for both humans and dogs at the festival. Highlights for the four-legged guests included a lure coursing, where dogs chased a white towel tied to a lure, and green space for roaming.

Ian Nofziger said his 5-pound fluff ball named Pterodactyl’s favorite part of the day was socializing with all the other dogs.

“(Pterodactyl) doesn’t get out a lot, so I thought this would be fun for her,” Nofzinger said.

“We tried to get her to do the (lure coursing) but she was not interested in that — just went straight for the other dogs.”

One of the most popular activities among human guests was the photo contest, according to Johnson. People submitted the best photos of their dogs to be voted on with tickets at a tent.

Every ticket used to vote counted as a monetary donation to the Heritage Humane Society.

“Fido fest is a great event, we’re so happy to be partnering with James City County Parks and Rec again,” said Jennifer Lafountain, volunteer and community engagement manager for the Humane Society.

“We have lots of great people coming out, just tons of dogs who are interacting and socializing, so it’s a really, really great event.”

Lafountain said all donations at the event will be used to help homeless animals in the Humane Society’s care.

“We’re just excited (Fido Fest) is getting bigger and better, we’re having a great time today,” Lafountain said.

Despite all the planned activities, Molly Harrison, an 8-year-old at the festival with her grandparents and their dog Angel, said her favorite part of the day was “petting all the little dogs.”

“Fido fest definitely has the perfect name,” Lafountain said. “It's great to see the community come out. A lot of these dogs are adoptable dogs that came from different shelters so it’s great to learn the different stories and learn about all the pups in the community.”

Want to donate to the Humane Society?

To learn more about the Heritage Humane Society’s work, how to adopt or to make a donation, visit

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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