It’s time to deck out your dog and join the parade of pets as the Gig Harbor Mid-day Rotary Club will host its 11th annual Harbor Hounds event on Sept. 14.
Participants walk their dogs between two downtown Gig Harbor destinations, Skansie Brothers Park and Eddon Boat Park, and they’ll get entry stamps and gifts from sponsors along the way.
Joe Flach, the committee chair for the event, said the Eddon Boat Park is the second location due to construction at Donkey Creek Park at the intersection of Harborview Drive and North Harborview Drive.
“Skansie will be more the anchor area, but sponsors will be equally distributed,” Flach said.
There also are some new sponsors, including Qdoba, Bed Bark and Beyond and Taco Time.
“We will have lots of free food samples from vendors,” Flach said.
Dog contests will be held at the Skansie Pavilion. Prizes and ribbons will be awarded for Best Dressed, Best Kisser, Best Tail Wagger and Best Tricks, and Musical Chairs with dogs is a crowd favorite.
Flach estimates 400 dogs register each year, bringing owners and friends to a crowd of more than 1,000 along the waterfront.
“I always enjoy the participation of so many people and pets,” he said. “I’m amazed at how they all get along with each other.”
The $30 registration fee for each dog includes access to sponsor booths, a Wag Bag with coupons and giveaways, a dog bandana, entry for the grand prize and a T-shirt. Participants who do not want a T-shirt pay $20.
The Rotary club asks that dogs be older than 6 months and have current vaccinations. Leashes are required. Watering stations will be available throughout the walk.
“Harbor Hounds happens rain or shine,” Flach said.
The Pierce Transit Trolley will be available to help alleviate traffic and parking congestion.
The walk will be presented by the Chambers Creek Pet Memorial Park, a New Tacoma Cemetery, sponsor coordinator Leslie Fleming said.
“They have been so easy to work with for our event,” Fleming said. “It’s nice to have them reach out across the (Narrows) bridge to support us.”
The event primarily supports the Prison Pet Partnership Program, a non-profit organization that rescues and trains homeless animals for service and provides inmates job skills at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.
Other community charities that benefit include the Backpack Brigade, Gig Harbor exchange students, scholarship programs and the Harbor History Museum.
“This started as a Gig Harbor-centered event, but now we have people attend from all over the area,” Flach said. “People love it. We provide a lot of fun and excitement.”
For more information or to register, visit www.harborhounds.com.Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_kim.