Downtown will go to the dogs this weekend, but in a good way, as pet-friendly O’Fallon merchants encourage patrons to bring their pooch pals to be pampered and socialize.
The Downtown Dog Days event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday is sponsored by the Downtown District merchant group. They plan on two more Saturdays this fall — Sept. 14, which will focus on pet health and wellness, and Oct. 12.
This Saturday, there will be outdoor seating, pup-themed drinks, treats and special activities. Look for the gold paw posted at various merchants — that means people can bring their dog into the store. Make sure all dogs are on leashes.
The event coordinator is Julie Hughes of Furchild, a specialty pet boutique at 105 E. First Street in O’Fallon. She opened the shop in December and offers treats, toys, food, clothing, accessories, and two self-wash stations. She is one of the Downtown District merchants focused on bringing more events and activities to the business area.
“There is a huge pet community in the area. We wanted to include pets in our activities,” she said. “We’re hoping for a big turnout. We want people to hangout and spend the day with their pets. Dogs need that — they’re social animals. We hope it will be fun for people and pets.”
To kick off the weekend, Doga — Dog Yoga — will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday at Furchild, taught by Rachael of Unity Yoga Wellness. Cost is $20 and there will be drinks and appetizers afterwards.
Hughes said splash pools, bubble machines and water bowls will also be part of Saturday’s outdoor fun. Splash pools will be located next to the O’Fallon VFW on First Street and behind the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce office on First Street.
A Scrub-a-Thon will take place at her shop Saturday, with the OTHS band bathing pooches. Proceeds will benefit the band and Spencer Pet Rescue.
Hughes thinks it is important for owners to bond with their pets, and grooming is one way to do that — therefore, her shop is a “one-stop” place.
“It’s been awesome to see the support. Pets add to our quality of life. We want O’Fallon to be known as a pet-friendly community,” she said.
Hughes moved to Colorado and earned a degree in organizational and strategic communication. But she was around animals her whole life and decided to pursue her passion. The pet population is big here, and she is amazed at the support.
“I have made so many new friends,” she said. “Dogs make my day.”
Hemingway’s, Sweet Katie Bee’s and I Scream You Scream are among the places that will allow “Pups on the Patio” — pet-friendly seating and special menu items.
Refinery Salon will offer nail painting and temporary hair color for dogs for $5 in front of the business. Proceeds will benefit Spencer Pet Rescue.
The O’Fallon VFW Post 805 is hosting a pet supplies drive for working military dogs stationed overseas. If you donate, you will receive a coupon for 10 percent off one item at Furchild.
Courage and Grace will offer you take home art kits for $20.
Another activity downtown is at the Vine Street Market from 7:30-10:30 a.m., sponsored by Fezziwig’s. It is sold out, but the next one will be Saturday, Aug. 24.
The group will walk down as a group to market to see what’s fresh and choose the best in meats, vegetables, eggs, and other surprise goodies. Then, they will all go back to Fezziwig’s Kitchen and whip up delicious fare. Owner Ellen Leaf-Moore said to bring notebooks because the recipes will be made up on the spot. The cost is $25.
For more information, visit Downtown District’s Facebook page.