When Dogs Fly: Libertyville’s Dog Days of Summer Takes Off


This Friday through Sunday, the northern suburb of Libertyville went to the dogs during its ninth annual Dog Days of Summer festival. This festival is all about canines and their humans, and features the DockDog National Dog Jumping competition, with more than 100 competing dogs of all shapes and sizes. But whether or not your dog will take to the water, you’ll be sure to find something to do at the festival, held in the center of town at Cook Park. There are plenty of vendors set up in tents at the festival itself, selling everything from sandwiches for humans to leashes, mugs, plaques, drawings and food featuring our furry friends. Visitors to the free festival can partake in a doggy parade, get their pets blessed at an interfaith pet blessing at St. Lawrence church, have a little ice cream (fit for humans and dogs alike) or watch demonstrations by the police department of their amazing K-9 partners. Downtown businesses open their doors for canine companions (or patios) and specials abound.

There was an incredible amount of rescue organizations there with their beautiful canine friends. There were puppies, pitties and giant breeds like the very lovable Great Dane/greyhound mix. Orphans of the Storm, Our House of Hope and the Australian Shepherd Rescue Midwest folks were just a few looking to get some fantastic furry friends homes. Other booths offered education, teaching guests how to perform CPR on a dog if necessary.

The main event though, is the DockDogs National Dog Jumping competition. It runs all weekend and features different categories, like Speed Retrieve, High Jump and Big Air. Dogs of all breeds can compete, though there was a definite labrador leaning during Sunday’s finals. One of the best things about this competition is just how much fun it looks like the dogs are having. Dogs excitedly run the length of the dock into a 40 foot long pool with over 20,000 gallons of water to get whatever toy they’re most excited about as a crowd of people cheers them on towards their goals. During the Big Air competition, you can expect to see dogs flying by the 20 foot mark in just seconds. Over 100 dogs compete for national recognition, and it all happens right in Libertyville’s downtown.

The festival almost didn’t happen this year, but we’re sure glad it did. Take a look at our gallery for shots of the smiling faces and wagging tails from this year’s event, and make sure to follow their facebook page to find out how to join next year’s doggy-filled adventures.

Marielle Bokor
Marielle Bokor