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Pet Fest raises funds for Fido
Dock diving dog competition among events scheduled at Animal Shelter benefit
Dock diving dogs will be featured at this weekend's Pet Fest beginning at noon Friday at Laurel Park.

Lake Lanier Pet Fest

Location: Laurel Park on Lake Lanier, 3100 Old Cleveland Highway,, Gainesville

Dates: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $5 per car

Activities: Dixie Dock Dogs regional competition, agility demonstrations, pet-friendly games and related services with kids' activities, live music and food on the shores of Lake Lanier. Vaccinated and trained pets on leashes welcome. Proceeds benefit the Hall County Animal Shelter, which serves 8,000 animals each year.

Folks all over Northeast Georgia are gearing up for a howling good time during this weekend's Lake Lanier Pet Fest at Laurel Park in Gainesville.

This inaugural event will be a fundraiser benefiting the pets in waiting at the Hall County Animal Shelter.

The three-day festival will feature everything from a pet costume parade, to owner-dog look-a-like contests, to herding and agility demonstrations.

Pet Fest will also feature a first for Hall County — a Dixie Dock Dogs diving competition.

"I've been doing dock diving competitions for the last three years. When we first started, the closest club to us was to the north in the Chesapeake Bay area and out west in Texas," said Bill Akin, who co-founded Dixie Dock Dogs with wife, Nancy Akin.

"We brought the sport to the south because we enjoyed the competition. It's a real diverse group, but we have two things in common — we love our dogs and we love having fun with them."

Dock diving involves a pet owner throwing a toy, or some other object, into a body of water for the dog to retrieve. This weekend's competitions are sanctioned and will feature regional competitors.

While the Pet Fest starts officially starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, the dock diving competition begins at noon on Friday. Onsite registration and practice begins at 11 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.

There diving competition will feature various waves, or rounds, of competition each day. Dogs will be able to compete for cash prizes and will be judged on various factors including speed retrieval, height of jump and length of jump.

"All of the competitions culminate with the finals on Sunday," said Akin.

"Participating in the individual waves qualifies some people for the finals, but there are also winners for each wave."

Pet Fest will also feature live, tail-wagging, finger-snapping, musical performances from artists like Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and Tom Dean's Jazz Quartet. Singer-songwriter Jayne Olderman, who adopted her puppy "Lakota" from the Hall County Animal Shelter, will also be performing.

There will also be food vendors and various kids activities. Parking in the park will be $5 per vehicle, per day. Pet owners will also have to pay between $3 to $5 to enter their pet into the various contests and other activities.

For more information about the Lake Lanier Pet Fest and to find a schedule of activities, visit the event website